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Current Topic: Miscellaneous

RE: Transsexual wins lawsuit against Library of Congress
Topic: Miscellaneous 11:06 am EDT, Sep 22, 2008

There was no immediate reaction from the library, which had claimed at trial that transgender people are not covered under federal anti-discrimination laws.

Unfortunately, that's been the historical interpretation: that "sex" (with regard to anti-discrimination laws) refers only to being male or female, and does not include the concepts of one's sex/gender identity and the presentation thereof, transsexualism, transgenderism, androgyny, etc. (see Ulane v. Eastern Airlines and Etsitty v. Utah Transit Authority). That's why explicit language (such as "sexual orientation," "gender identity") is considered necessary in such laws, even though "sex" should cover all of the above (as far as I'm concerned). It's refreshing to see this type of logical interpretation from U.S. District Court Judge James Robinson, especially when the decision points out the "legislating from the bench" of past decisions, which set bad precedent.

Excerpts from the court document:

Sex vs. Sexuality...

Schroer’s second legal theory is that, because gender identity is a component of sex, discrimination on the basis of gender identity is sex discrimination. In support of this contention, Schroer adduced the testimony of Dr. Walter Bockting, a tenured associate professor at the University of Minnesota Medical School who specializes in gender identity disorders. Dr. Bockting testified that it has long been accepted in the relevant scientific community that there are nine factors that constitute a person’s sex. One of these factors is gender identity, which Dr. Bockting defined as one’s personal sense of being male or female.7 Tr. at 210.

The Library adduced the testimony of Dr. Chester Schmidt, a professor of psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and also an expert in gender identity disorders. Dr. Schmidt disagreed with Dr. Bockting’s view of the prevailing scientific consensus and testified that he and his colleagues regard gender identity as a component of “sexuality” rather than “sex.” According to Dr. Schmidt, “sex” is made up of a number of facets, each of which has a determined biologic etiology. Dr. Schmidt does not believe that gender identity has a single, fixed etiology. Tr. at 372, 400-04.

To be fair, this is still being debated today, but based on my research over the years, the current majority opinion seems to be with Dr. Bockting. However, I don't necessarily consider the two explanations to be mutually exclusive. Transgenderism is a broad concept, and I think there are various reasons why some individuals don't neatly fit into the categories of male and female.

Here's the key aspect (for me) of Robinson's reasoning...

Imagine that an empl... [ Read More (0.4k in body) ]

RE: Transsexual wins lawsuit against Library of Congress

Sesame Street Videos
Topic: Miscellaneous 5:27 pm EDT, Aug 28, 2008

From Muppet Wikki: is an official Sesame Street website, featuring video clips, games, playlists, and more. Although the site was scheduled for debut on August 11, 2008, it was on the web as early as August 5, 2008. Clips can be found by grouping by character, theme, educational topic, classic clips, or songs.

This is great! This new site has just about every muppet sketch I can remember from childhood. Most of the muppets are listed, but for whatever reason, they chose not to list Lefty (a.k.a. The Salesman) in the character search list, but he's pretty easy to find. Sure, you can find most of these on YouTube, but the quality is hit-and-miss.

"The Air Salesman" (click image) featuring Ernie and Lefty was always one of my favorites. Ernie finally gets the better of Lefty in "The Ice Cream Salesman," though.

Also, Johnny Cash sings "Nasty Dan" for Oscar and "Five Feet High And Rising" for Biff. Classic stuff!

Sesame Street Videos

Jerry Seinfeld, Pitchman
Topic: Miscellaneous 9:59 am EDT, Aug 21, 2008

Microsoft Enlists Jerry Seinfeld In Its Ad Battle Against Apple
By Suzanne Vranica and Robert A. Guth

Microsoft Corp., weary of being cast as a stodgy oldster by Apple Inc.'s advertising, is turning for help to Jerry Seinfeld.

The software giant's new $300 million advertising campaign, devised by a newly hired ad agency, has been closely guarded. But Mr. Seinfeld will be one of the key celebrity pitchmen, say people close to the situation. He will appear with Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates in ads and receive about $10 million for the work, they say.

Jerry Seinfeld, Pitchman

Vince Offer, Pitchman
Topic: Miscellaneous 6:45 pm EDT, Aug 18, 2008

Offer, who appeared on infomericals for his movie and also sold kitchen utensils at a swap meet, appears as a spokesman in a commercial for Shamwow! absorbent towels that began airing in the spring of 2008. Offer's work on the ad received some comment in the media.'s Seth Stevenson praised Offer for his "impressive and subtle mastery of the pitchman's art" and wondered if Offer's "abrasive manner might also mark a unique, new strategy in the annals of pitchdom." Stevenson compared Offer to earlier, gentler television pitchmen like Billy Mays and the Home Shopping Network hosts and concluded that Offer's "smooth-talking condescension" was more suited to the present zeitgeist than the "earnest fervor" of spokesmen like Mays and Ron Popeil.

Stevenson noted that Offer's "hectoring tone... makes us feel like idiots for even entertaining the notion of not buying a Shamwow."

From Stevenson's article:

Offer's history includes lawsuits waged against the Farrelly brothers, Anna Nicole Smith, and the Church of Scientology. He also wrote and directed the 1999 film The Underground Comedy Movie. The New York Post review gave the film zero stars, said it "may be the least amusing comedy ever made," and asked, "How can the War Crimes Tribunal indict Slobodan Milosevic but let Vince Offer still walk the streets?"

Harsh! But hey, Vince is certainly not boring, and therein lies a significant component of his effectiveness. The guy's jerky, aggrieved attitude jumps off the screen—particularly when he berates his own crew, snapping, "You followin' me, camera guy?" Vince manages, in the course of a minute spent swiping counters and dabbing at carpets, to make us wonder, "Whoa, what's the deal with this freak?" That makes the ad an attention-grabber, and it helps the Shamwow stand out from a crowded field of useless doohickeys.

Vince Offer, Pitchman

New Photos of Mars Offer Further Evidence of Water in Past
Topic: Miscellaneous 12:28 pm EDT, Jul 16, 2008

Now these astonishing new images - captured by a European spacecraft in orbit around Mars - are helping to fuel that fascination. They show in astonishing detail a network of giant valleys, vast plains and towering waterfalls carved into the surface of our neighbouring planet, millions of miles away.

And while Mars today appears lifeless and parched, they are a reminder of how its surface was shaped by fast flowing streams, rivers and oceans. The pictures were captured by the European Space Agency's Mars Express Probe - a spacecraft the size of a large fridge-freezer that has been circling Mars since Christmas 2003.

New Photos of Mars Offer Further Evidence of Water in Past

FUNimation Will Distribute Geneon's Anime Titles
Topic: Miscellaneous 4:14 pm EDT, Jul  3, 2008

Geneon Entertainment (USA) Inc. shut down last year, leaving the future of many anime titles up in the air (regarding distribution in North America).

FUNimation Entertainment and Geneon Entertainment Sign Exclusive Distribution Agreement for North America

First Titles Scheduled for Release in Late Summer

FLOWER MOUND, TX, July 03, 2008 -- FUNimation Entertainment, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Navarre Corporation, and Geneon Entertainment (USA) Inc., a leading producer of Japanese animation, announced today their partnership to distribute select DVD titles in North America.

Under the terms of the agreement, FUNimation Entertainment obtains the exclusive rights to the manufacturing, marketing, sales and distribution of established Geneon titles, including international successes "Ergo Proxy", "Hellsing Ultimate" and "Black Lagoon".

Among the first titles to be released includes the special edition of "Hellsing Ultimate", directed by Tomokazu Tokoro and produced by Satelight (“Aquarion” and “BALDR FORCE EXE Resolution”).

Follow up releases include "Black Lagoon Second Barrage", “Karin”, "Kyo kara Maoh! Season 2", and "Lyrical Nanoha".

“Geneon is a strong producer, known for excellent production and quality of its anime series,“ said Gen Fukunaga, president and CEO of FUNimation Entertainment. “We are pleased to partner with them and we are committed to the successful release of these series.”

"FUNimation's momentum as the leading anime distributor continues to build," said Yushin Soga, president and CEO of Geneon. "We are sure this partnership will only grow the prominence of our portfolio."

Additional titles include: “Black Lagoon”, “Elemental Gelade”, “Fate/stay night”, “Kamichu”, “Ninja Vixens”, “Paradise Kiss”, “Rozen Maiden”, “Rozen Maiden - Träumend”, “Shana”, “Shonen Onmyouji”, “The Familiar of Zero”, “The Story of Saiunkoku”, “When They Cry”, and “The Law of Ueki”.

Kyo Kara Maoh!, Hellsing Ultimate, and Black Lagoon are the main titles I was concerned about. This is welcome news!

FUNimation Will Distribute Geneon's Anime Titles

Linux Community Should Plant Seeds for Consumer Demand
Topic: Miscellaneous 2:14 pm EDT, Jun 19, 2008

Most anyone in the free and open source software realm can tell you not only that Linux is better than Windows, but also that it is an optimal alternative to the closed-source and proprietary operating system from Microsoft. Anyone at a Linux-oriented event or group can assure you that you have no need or even legitimate reason to continue using commercial operating systems nowadays.

Indeed, GNU and Linux have radically transformed software development and systems administration in practice and in culture, but to replace Windows broadly, it is essential to accommodate the influx of commercial software refugees.

Above all else, Linux is a paradigm, or a way of doing things; rather than needing to know every detail, users can start using it and getting results by just knowing what to expect. Computer technology grows more sophisticated by the day, and to keep improving free and open source software, we need a sophisticated and flexible educational infrastructure that allows users to reach their desired goals as quickly and as easily as possible.

Linux Community Should Plant Seeds for Consumer Demand

Analogy from a Music Review
Topic: Miscellaneous 11:55 am EDT, May  9, 2008

This is an excerpt from an album review that I recently stumbled across.

Then I heard track 21. The "hidden track". Oh, my God. Imagine the most beautiful woman in the world, and making love to her, in an open field, during a full blown thunderstorm. That's how awesome track 21 is.

I think he liked it.

For Acidus...
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:27 pm EDT, May  7, 2008

This article triggered flashbacks from PhreakNIC 11.

When I wake up every morning, I'm thinking one thing: It takes a wolf to catch a wolf.

If you want me to help you find plane tickets, you best unlearn all that shit they taught you in Sunday school. I got your back, yeah—but I can turn on you in an instant. I just don't give a fuck. Expedia, Hotwire, Cheapflights? Fuck them bitches. I got my own methods, shit you ain't never seen before. Shit you never knew existed. But I ain't holding no hands, I ain't babysitting—you don't like my style of airline-ticket purchasing, then get the fuck out my home office. Shit.

I ain't afraid to open up my eyes and see the world of air-travel ticket searches for what it is. Sometimes you gotta look right into the credit-card payment field and see that nothing's down there but fear. Sometimes you gotta get your soul a little dirty.


For Acidus...

Neil Cavuto - "World's Richest Man Likes Taxes, but Most Other Folks Don't"
Topic: Miscellaneous 10:44 am EDT, May  6, 2008

Warren Buffett doesn't like Hillary Clinton's gas tax holiday. Doesn't much flip over an estate tax holiday. In fact, doesn't much like any tax holidays. But he does like taxes apparently.

He spelled it out for my colleague Liz Claman on FOX Business Network — did I tell you if you're not getting this fantastic business service, you're really missing out? But I digress.

Back to taxes. The world's richest man seems to like them. I think it's fair to say most other folks do not. I am not here to quibble with the sage, perhaps the single best investor who ever lived. I am here to quibble with his faith in government. After all, taxes support government. And more taxes support more government.

But you'd think this remarkable man, who places so much faith in the government with our money, would share the same view when it comes to his own money. He doesn't. He's already announced that he will give away his entire fortune to Bill Gates' charitable foundation. For good reason. Bill and Melinda Gates are doing a remarkable job at charity. And I guess, by inference, the government is not, speaking very charitably.

So think about that: When the smartest investor in the world had to decide the best use of his money for doing good in this world...he chooses not his Uncle Sam, but his friend Bill. I didn't follow his words. I followed something else. His money.

Neil Cavuto - "World's Richest Man Likes Taxes, but Most Other Folks Don't"

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