Justin Bieber’s Twitter Diplomacy #whocares

There has been an international brouhaha that has been smoldering for a little less than a week now and I am certain that it was in danger of tumbling the entire world into a sea of fire.  The surprising thing is that it has nothing to do with N. Korea, Iran, or China.  No, instead it has to do with Canada’s most famous “diplomat” and his recent comments while on a diplomatic junket to the United Kingdom.  I am of course being facetious in my comments there, but what I am referring to are the comments made by one Justin Bieber and the “Twitterstorm” he caused by essentially dismissing the world’s largest democracy, Indonesia.

According to the Daily Mirror, his Excellency Mr. Bieber was particularly “petulant” towards the media assembled to listen to his new album.  During this most glorious event Mr. Bieber referred to Indonesia as, “…some random country,” and then went on to declare that they, “…didn’t know what they were doing;” referring to recording in a studio there.  Needless to say the “Twitterverse” erupted over these comments and surely putting the world on the brink of war; only a miracle could say us all.

Well, we all can sleep easy tonight because Mr. Bieber has taken to his Twitter account to set the record straight and extinguish those embers of divisiveness broadcasting the following messages:  “one rumor i wont stand for is saying what me and my fans have isnt real. Indonesia I see you. i love u. I love ALL MY FANS. #fact.”  Continuing with, “you cant break us. all the lies and rumors in the world cant phase us. this is #FAMILY . #Beliebers #ILOVEMYFANS.”

Oh thank the lord all of that mess is straightened out.  If only the Bieb’s could use his Twitter diplomacy to bring peace to the Middle East #sarcasm.

Parents Sue School Board to Reinstate Cheating Child

Is there no honor anymore?  I ask because it seems that everyone is willing to do anything to achieve something with the least amount of effort.  That means that people are willing to lie, cheat, and steal just to get ahead, and it seems to me that mentality hasn’t just become more pervasive, but the behavior is practically overlooked and at times defended should someone get caught lying, cheating, and stealing.  There is a saying in sports that says, “If you ain’t cheating then you ain’t trying,” and unfortunately it appears that belief has been taken out of sports and into the streets.  Look, I am not even going to pretend to tell everyone that I never cheated, because I did, however if I would have gotten caught I wouldn’t have expected anyone to have come to my defense of my actions; but apparently times change.

Take this instance here, a sophomore at a northern California high school was kicked out of his honors level English class for cheating and his parents are suing the school board.  I find it more than a little ironic that it was an “honors” class from which the student was expelled from for not being honorable, kind makes me laugh.  What isn’t laughable is that the parents have decided to sue the school board to reinstate the child back into this honors English class, stating that the honesty pledge both they and the student signed at the beginning of the year contained contradictory language, and alluding to the fact that this expulsion could hamper the student’s academic future.  Okay, for starters if I would have been caught for cheating and thus kicked out of that class for cheating, my parents certainly wouldn’t have hired an attorney to fight for my reinstatement.  Oh, no, no, quite the contrary.  To put it mildly I would have been punished, and I am sure that I would still remember that punishment.

Then there is this whole notion that the student’s academic career could be adversely affected by this.  First of all the student was busted for copying his friend’s essay; which means that they both would have written the exact same thing; and makes it easy to get caught.  So, maybe the student isn’t smart enough to be in the honors level class to begin with?  But anyway, we are to excuse poor decisions when they are made by a child, because too harsh a punishment could adversely affect their future.  Hmm, wouldn’t too light a punishment teach the child that there are no consequences for their actions?  What would be the lesson learned if everyone gets just a stern talking to whenever we do something wrong?  There wouldn’t be a lesson learned and you end up with a bunch of spoiled, entitled, brats; sounds like the good life, doesn’t

Mobile Phone Causes Pilot to Abort Landing

We are more connected now than at any other time in the course of history; what with our cell phones and the internet and all of the various means of communication that goes along with these wonders of technologies; however I think it has also given us the equivalent of what fighter pilots call “helmet fire.”  Helmet fire happens when fighter pilots get information overload from all of the data that they have to process while flying their jets, and if not handled appropriately it can get them killed.  Granted our civilian version of helmet fire does not include having to engage the enemy and conduct evasive maneuvers, while flying at near supersonic speeds, but that doesn’t mean that ours can’t be any less deadly.  By now most, if not all of us, have learned about the dangers of trying to multitask while driving our cars.  There have been multiple studies that have demonstrated that even relatively simple tasks such as eating and drinking (in this instance I am referring to nonalcoholic drinks) dramatically reduce our reaction times while driving.  Then there are the studies that have shown that people talking on their smart phones and driving are about as dangerous as someone who is drunk behind the wheel.  Of course there is also the texting driver, who must literally take their eyes off the road to send that oh so precious “LOL,” yeah, not a very smart idea to do that.

Well, apparently there is one place where you can still use your phone and operate a vehicle at the same time, and that place is none other than in the cockpit of a passenger jet.  Sounds safe, what could possibly go wrong; right?  Imagine, while all of the passengers are banned from using their wireless devices, because I guess it destroys the physics that make an airplane fly (that’s sarcasm), you could be in the cockpit hauling those poor communication deprived schleps around the globe texting and tweeting your heart out.  As it turns out though being able to text and fly isn’t such a good idea either (duh).  A Jetstar pilot was on final approach to land his passenger filled plane in Singapore when he had to abort his landing.  Why?  Because he had forgotten to lower the plane’s landing gear.  Why did he forget to lower the plane’s landing gear?  Because he was too busy fiddling with his mobile phone to remember to do so.  Luckily no one was killed in this instance, but it certainly illustrates the dangerous distraction that our little miracles of modern communication can be while trying to do other things – like flying an airplane.

 

Woman Dies from Sunlight Only Diet

People can be incredibly stupid, which is amazing considering the fact that the human race is thus far the most intelligent species to live on Earth.  In the relative blink of an eye over the 4 billion years of the Earth’s existence the human race has achieved an amazing level of advancement.  Homo sapiens have walked the Earth for roughly 100,000 years and in that remarkably short period of time we have gone from living in caves to landing on the moon.  Conversely the dinosaurs which existed for some 65 million years never did anything aside from eating each other and getting trapped in the occasional tar pit.  So, while the “thunder lizards” may have us beat on longevity, I give the nod to the humans for being able to improve their quality of life; but I am biased.

However despite our species signs of genius on the whole, there are occasions where individually members of the human race demonstrate some questionable actions with regards to showing signs of intelligence.  Take for example the fact that the so called Darwin Awards even exists as the reason why some people can be incredibly stupid.  Despite the multitude of instances where a member of our race shows the propensity of not wise choices and then dying from those choices, there seems to be an unending line of people who are willing to queue up in the stupid line.

I recently read this article where a woman in Switzerland died from her diet.  Now, that alone may not be enough to land someone as a Darwin Award winner, because maybe she suffered from food poisoning or something; but she didn’t.  Nope, it wasn’t food poisoning or some experimental supplement that did this woman in, it was that she decided that she would/could live off of sunlight only.  Yes, you read that right, no food, no water, just basking in the sun’s rays, and she eventually starved to death.  First of all I have to commend her on her dedication to see this diet through to the umm “end,” here in America most people quit their diets after a few weeks, or months; but it begs the questions, how much weight was she looking to lose, and didn’t she realize at some point that this sunlight only diet might not be fully sustaining her?  Regardless, while the death of another person is always sad, when it happens due to poor decision making it then also becomes a pity.

 

Dr. Seuss is Banned in Canada

Who here likes censorship?  Probably very few of us like things being censored, but at the same time we all probably realize that there are some things that should be censored; right?  Take for example the phase that most, if not all, of us heard at one time or another from our parents when they would reprimand us by saying, “there is a time and place for everything.”  That phrase there is an example of censorship, specifically self-censorship, it is essentially telling us what behavior to conduct ourselves in depending on the situation.  For example, it is probably a good idea not to do shots of tequila while at church.  There are also some things that children shouldn’t be exposed to, such as explicit sexual images, violence, and Dr. Seuss.

Huh?  Wait a minute I thought Dr. Seuss books are intended for children, so how can they possibly be censored from them?  Well, according to the school district in British Colombia Canada Dr. Seuss is no longer fit for the young fragile minds of their students.  At present it isn’t all of Dr. Seuss’ works (yet), just “Yertle the Turtle,” and the reason for it landing on the banned book list is because it violates ban on political messages in schools.  The surprising thing is that it was actually a teacher who landed this book on the contraband list by quoting this line from the book to administrators, “I know, up on top you are seeing great sights, but down here on the bottom, we, too, should have rights.”  Does anyone see the irony by using that quoted text to land this book on the banned list?  If I recall “Yertle the Turtle” is about the dangers of despotic rule, and that quote actually illustrates that; and yet here we have a government organization (despots if you will) deciding what is right for the masses.

Yes, “Yertle the Turtle” is in fact a political book, and according to the BC school district’s policy on no political messages in school it falls into the banned text category; but that is a broad ban there.  I imagine that “The Lorax” will be next, because it advocates environmentalism, which is a political message and countless other children’s stories because they typically advocate sharing, which heaven forbid advocates communism!  I have to wonder, exactly what books the students in British Columbia are actually allowed to read, because some of the great works in literature have political messages, and they all warn of similar things that “Yertle the Turtle” is about.  “Animal Farm,” “1984,” “A Brave New World,” and “Fahrenheit 451,” they all are warnings to their readers about the dangers of an overzealous government deciding what is appropriate for their citizens.  Yeah, I remember reading all of those books and thinking to myself, “Gee, I sure hope one day I can live in a country like that.”  Well, apparently if I move to Canada I can.

 

Tech Mogul Raises Money for Squirrels

We all have things that we support, be it financially or simply believing in them.  Of course I am referring to issues and causes here, not your 6th year senior nephew attending his state’s university; though I am sure he needs all the support he can get.  There are so many causes and issues that we can lend our support to, such as The American Red Cross, The American Cancer Society, The World Wild Life Federation, AIDS research, The Boys and Girls Clubs, The Boy and Girl Scouts, The Humane Society, and squirrels.  Wait, WHAT?!

Yes, you read that correctly, there is a “new” cause out there that apparently needs our help, and it is called Squirrels for Good — I think.  And there is at least one tech heavyweight is offering his support to this worthy (I guess) cause.  Who is this tech heavyweight?  Well it is none other than Craig Newmark, founder of Craig’s list, the online classified advertisement website.  Okay, I admit I had no idea who he was either, until the article I read told me so, and maybe he isn’t exactly a tech titan, but I am sure he is doing better than most of us.

So, here’s the deal with Craig’s support for squirrels.  He will donate $1 to the National Wildlife Foundation for every tweet or post on his Facebook page with #Squirrels4Good included in them.  There is a catch though, and this is probably the clue that he isn’t exactly Bill Gates; he is capping his campaign at $5000.  Now, I am not going to poke fun at him for the dollar amount, I wish I could afford to donate $5000 to a cause I believed in.  Instead I just have to ask why?  Not why is he giving the money to the National Wildlife Foundation, I get that, and that’s cool, but why #Squirrels4Good?  Unfortunately there is no answer to that question beyond the fact that Mr. Newmark likes squirrels.  Umm, okay, good for you, but thank you for donating to the National Wildlife Foundation, one of many worthy causes out there.

 

Having to Pee and Driving is Like Driving Drunk

What is with scientists these days?  I mean have they just become lazy?  America hasn’t been turning out that many science and engineering graduates for quite some time, so maybe the science departments at colleges and universities are so underfunded now that quite simply those who graduate simply aren’t as smart as scientists in the past?  I am asking all of this because there was a time when science seemed to be churning out meaningful revelations, discoveries, cures, and answers on a fairly regular basis.  It was a time when we all thought science would answer pretty much all our questions and solve pretty much all of our problems.  Now we have scientists studying what kind of music rats on cocaine like (it is Miles Davis by the way), the effects of drinking beer before taking a test (two pints equals higher analytical skills) and those are just two examples of WTF scientific studies, believe me there are SO many more; like this one here.

Apparently in an effort not to be out done by coked up rats and buzzed test takers in wasting precious research dollars, a group of doctors (that’s roughly 8 years of higher education each for these people have) decided to study “The effect of acute increase in urge to void on cognitive function in healthy adults.”  That is the actual title of the study, and what it says in layman’s terms is, how does really having to pee effect your ability to do things . . . Gee, thanks Einstein’s I was really losing sleep over that mystery.  Well, I won’t keep you on the edge of your seat, waiting for the results of the study.  These supposedly highly educated people discovered that if you are holding it for too long the effects is equivalent of having a 0.05 blood alcohol level and thus you shouldn’t drive and have to pee – thanks I needed to know that.  Hey I have a study for all of these “scientists.”  If two pints of beer makes men score higher on analytical tests, and two pints roughly equals 0.05-0.08 blood alcohol level, then why not see how smart a guy is who has to pee really bad AND has had two pints?  Huh, whatya think?  Genius right?

 

In the Future We Will Travel in Tubes Like Hamsters – but Faster

Ah, the promise of the future.  I remember as a child pouring over books that discussed the future of this, that, or the other.  Like most kids I was particularly interested in outer space, so I was fascinated by anything about how we will one day have these wheel shaped space stations and moon colonies that would be open to civilian travel and visitation.  However my childlike wonder wasn’t just resigned to focus on the stars.  I was also fascinated by more Earthly visions of the future too.  There was some talk back then that in the future we could have colonies, or settlements, and the really big, pie in the sky visionaries believed that we will even have actual cities in the ocean.  Not just floating on top, but down deep on the ocean floor!  Wow, that sounds cool doesn’t it?  Staying on more solid ground I also enjoyed reading about the future of travel too; which included trips to the space stations, and moon colonies, as well as civilian sub travel to our underwater cities.  However the future of travel also of course dealt more pedestrian forms of travel too, like cars and trains.  As a boy I thought that the car was cool, and that future cars would therefore be beyond cool; and the futurists promised that our future rides would be exactly that — beyond cool, and that they would fly; however when it came to trains, that is where there wasn’t too much cool visions out there; until now.

According to this video the future of high speed terrestrial transportation lies not in the so called bullet-trains, but rather in a tube; and no I am referring to what Londoners call their subway; though these tubes presumably would be underground.  The way it works is that about 6-8 people and their luggage load up in this canister, which is then loaded into a tube.  The tube is then evacuated of air and using the same type of technology as a maglev train the canister “floats” in this vacuum and is then accelerated up to its purported top speed of 4000 mph towards its destination.  Okay, sounds cool, but I am no longer a child, so these fanciful stories of the future have a lesser impact on me.  This probably stems from the fact that many of those futurist visions that I so devoured as a child promised that they would be achieved by the year two-thousand.  Well, it is now 2012 and I have yet to fly my car to the spaceport and visit the moon.  The only futurist predictions we hear now is how the world is going to end in December of this year.  So these “evacuated tube” promoters better get cracking on this because they only have a little less than 8 months to deliver.

 

2050 Could be the Year of the “Prostibot”

Sex sells.  We all have heard that two word sentence so many times it is cliché.  However, with pretty much every cliché it is also the truth.  If you don’t believe me, and I doubt there are too many people out there who don’t believe me, then all you have to know is that the pornographic “industry” was estimated at making about $10 to $14 billion in the United States alone in 2001.  No matter how you slice it, that is a lot of cheddar.  If you require further proof, and I don’t know anyone who would, then consider the clichéd phrase about prostitution being the world’s oldest profession; again though cliché it is also true.  Any “profession” that has stood the test of time as long as prostitution then we all can conclude that what these “professionals” are selling (sex) must be in high demand.

Technology has done wonders for the pornographic industry.  The advent of the internet has allowed those who wish to indulge themselves the ability to do so in the privacy of their own home.  No longer do these people have to slink into seedy adult themed bookstores and theaters hoping that no one sees them; they are now simply a few mouse clicks away from whatever it is that turns them on.  When it comes to the world’s oldest profession however technology has had essentially zero impact on it forever; until now.  Well maybe not now, but soon.

According to scientists in New Zealand those who wish to employ the services of umm a “professional” woman may soon do so with what they are calling a “prostibot.”  Sounds particularly Blade Runner-esque doesn’t it?  Well, according to these scientists the “prostibots” would revolutionize (my word) the sex industry because they would be made from bacterial resistant materials and be umm, cleaned(?) after each encounter as to eliminate the risk of getting an STD; and let’s face it one of the biggest hazards of employing a “professional” woman is the risk of contracting an STD.  The scientists also believe that these mechanical mistresses would curtail, or eliminate the sex trafficking that has been a part of prostitution as long as there has been prostitution.  All noble goals for sure, but does anyone else see the irony that scientists are on a quest to create these sexual androids?  Insert lonely nerd jokes here.

Today is Unofficially the Stoner Holiday

Okay everybody, it is time to dust off your Rastafarian wear and put some Reggae in the stereo, or since we are in the 21st century now, download some Reggae to your iPod.  Yep, today is a once a year event, like Christmas, your birthday, Thanksgiving, Easter, and today; 4/20.  Wait, What?!  Yeah, many out there they may be wondering what in the world is so special about April 20th?  Well, rest at ease, because if you don’t know the significance of April 20th, then you are probably better off for it.  First of all you will notice that I used the numeric version of the date, and that is the key to its significance.  420 is rumored to be the police code for smoking marijuana, and as such the marijuana smokers have adopted the number as their own.  So, today being April 20th, or 4/20 amounts to a sort of holiday for those who enjoy puffing some cannabis.

However, I think that maybe these folks might want to reconsider making today such a celebration, because looking back at some of the historical events that have happened on April 20th, or 4/20, haven’t been exactly the kind of things that one would want associated with a day of celebration.  Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus.  Your birthday is celebrating your birth.  Thanksgiving is celebrating the giving of thanks, and Easter is celebrating Jesus’ resurrection.  Here is a list of events that have happened on 4/20:  Adolf Hitler’s birthday, the Columbine massacre, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded and began spewing crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico.  Oh, and Fenway Park opened 100 years ago today; so I guess one out of four isn’t too bad . . . The other thing is that celebrating smoking pot is a little juvenile isn’t it?  I mean, I don’t have anything against smoking pot, that’s your business, but it hardly is something that needs a day of celebration.  I mean what do they do?  Sit around, get high, eat Doritos and watch the Wheel of Fortune?  Yeah, that sounds like quite the party.