Nov 30th, 2006 by ravi
Give us your indoctrinated, your brainwashed…

The latest howler from our beloved government: a revised citizenship test:

BBC | US unveils new citizenship test

[…]

Mr Gonzalez says those who want to become US citizens should not be allowed to do so by simply rattling off historical facts they have memorised but should show a passion for the country of which they are becoming an integral part. The new questions will require those taking the exam to demonstrate a deeper understanding of the American political system and its history.

[…]

They are going to test this new quiz on immigrant volunteers. What I would really like is for them to test it on some “real” citizens.

Here are some of the new questions:

Why does the United States have three branches of government?
Name two rights that are only for US citizens
Name two cabinet-level positions
Name one important idea found in the Declaration of Independence
What does the Constitution do?

I know! I know!!

1. So that the loot can be shared equally among the rich and powerful
2. Bigotry and Ignorance
3. Token black person, Secretary of Torture
4. Separate and Equal
5. Gather dust?

[ Link ]

Read the full post and comments »
Nov 30th, 2006 by ravi
Le Corbusier’s last project

Spiegel Online has a slideshow of pictures (just three) of a church in France that was Le Corbusier’s final project.

Read the full post and comments »
Nov 29th, 2006 by ravi
Untiring wonder toy!

The little guy at home would probably rank his “ogo” bricks as among the top 5 of his toys — not surprisingly, it was named Toy of the Century by Fortune and the British Toy Retailers association. A BusinessWeek article “The Making of…a LEGO” traces the history and details of the company and the product. One little known factoid? LEGO is the #1 tyre manufacturer in the world! ;-)

The bricks are so meticulously made that the company claims that out of every 1 million elements made, just 18 will be declared defective and removed from the set. Impressive numbers, considering that the LEGO Group is producing 15 billion components a year—that’s 1.7 million items an hour, or 28,500 a minute. Tire production accounts for some of that number; the factory also produces 306 million tiny rubber tires a year. In fact, going by that number, LEGO is the world’s No. 1 tire manufacturer.

[ Link ]

Read the full post and comments »
Nov 29th, 2006 by ravi
Peace prevails

In an earlier post I wrote:

A bunch of people in Colorado want their neighbour to take down a Christmas peace sign wreath…

Fortunately, it turns out that the “bunch” is mostly the [now ex] board members of the housing association. New York Times has more:

Last week, a couple were threatened with fines of $25 a day by their homeowners’ association unless they removed a four-foot wreath shaped like a peace symbol from the front of their house.

The fines have been dropped, and the three-member board of the association has resigned, according to an e-mail message sent to residents on Monday.

[…]

In any case, there are now more peace symbols in Pagosa Springs, a town of 1,700 people 200 miles southwest of Denver, than probably ever in its history.

On Tuesday morning, 20 people marched through the center carrying peace signs and then stomped a giant peace sign in the snow perhaps 300 feet across on a soccer field, where it could be seen from about just everywhere by just about everyone.

[…]

A former president of the Loma Linda community, where Mr. Trimarco lives, said Tuesday that he had stepped in to help form an interim homeowners’ association.

The former president, Farrell C. Trask, described himself in a telephone interview as a military veteran who would fight for anyone’s right to free speech, peace symbols included.

Town Manager Mark Garcia said Pagosa Springs was building its own peace wreath, too. Mr. Garcia said it would be finished by late Tuesday and installed on a bell tower in the center of town.

Goes to show that there is more to people than the simplifications and stereotypes offered and furthered by TV talking heads.

Read the full post and comments »
Nov 29th, 2006 by ravi
Ex-Lesbian born again guilty of kidnapping?

The below is a positive turn to a custody fight that I have been following with some sadness and anger:

Ruling Lets Women Share Rights Custody Fight – NYT

Lisa Miller and Janet Jenkins had a child while joined in a same-sex civil union in Vermont.

The breakup of their relationship, and what it means for their daughter, Isabella, has for years been a source of tension between the Vermont courts, which recognize both women as Isabella’s mothers, and a Virginia judge who granted sole custody to Ms. Miller, Isabella’s biological mother, reasoning that Virginia law makes same-sex unions “void in all respects.”

But yesterday a three-judge panel of the Virginia appeals court unanimously accepted a ruling of the Vermont Supreme Court that conferred parental rights on both women.

[…]

The court ruled that a 1980 federal law, the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act, required Virginia to defer to the Vermont court.

The law requires states to give full faith and credit to other states’ custody determinations. Because Ms. Miller filed papers in Vermont to dissolve her union to Ms. Jenkins in 2003, the appeals court said, the Vermont courts thereby gained sole jurisdiction over custody and visitation issues concerning Isabella.

[…]

[ Link ]

Read the full post and comments »
Nov 28th, 2006 by ravi
Compassionate conservatism

Via BoingBoing a video of American soldiers using a bottle of water to make Iraqi children run for miles behind a truck. It’s truly sickening to see these children running for what seems to be minutes, while the soldiers laugh and comment:

Read the full post and comments »
Nov 27th, 2006 by ravi
Kramnik throws away Game 2

In an act of sheer blindness, Kramnik ignores a mate in 1 situation, throwing away Game 2 of the RAG World Chess Challenge pitting him against Deep Fritz (a computer). It’s a nerve-racking … see it here (Shockwave Flash).

Kramnik Fritz Game 2

The image above is a screen grab from the Flash version (linked to above) and shows the state of things right before the mate. It’s Kramnik’s (black) turn to play and rather than avoid the mate in 1 he moves 34… Qe3!

Read the full post and comments »
Nov 26th, 2006 by ravi
EPI report on “tort costs”

The EPI takes a look at bogeyman claims about tort costs:

Tort costs and the economy: Myths, exaggerations, and propaganda

[…]

Conclusion

It is hard to find any evidence that increased tort costs have harmed the U.S. economy. The economic case made by tort system critics to justify changes in the system is remarkably weak. The costs of the tort system have been grossly exaggerated, and its supposed impact on job creation, R&D, productivity, and profits has been exaggerated or simply invented. With respect to job creation in particular, significant tort law change would be more likely to slow employment growth than to promote it. There is no reason to believe that the kinds of tort law change the Bush administration advocates will have significant positive effects on the economy.

[ Link ]

Read the full post and comments »
Nov 26th, 2006 by ravi
Peace: a divisive idea

A bunch of people in Colorado want their neighbour to take down a Christmas peace sign wreath, because — no I am not making this up — it is considered to be “divisive” i.e., it is anti-war. So, there you have it: war is what brings us together and peace is what divides us.

ABC News: Colo. Subdivision Bans Wreath Peace Sign

A homeowners association in southwestern Colorado has threatened to fine a resident $25 a day until she removes a Christmas wreath with a peace sign that some say is an anti-Iraq war protest or a symbol of Satan.

[…]

[ Link ]

Read the full post and comments »
Nov 26th, 2006 by ravi
Cartoon comparisons

We all remember the Danish cartoon controversy. You remember the one? Where most of the U.S press reported, with barely concealed glee, the horrors of the protests against the cartoons, rather than the cartoons themselves? To be fair they did comment on the cartoons i.e., as a free speech issue, as in the useless freedom to call your mother a whore. Another thing that I do not remember is any mention of the below, in the midst of the criticism of Muslim and Arab nations: It seems that the cartoons were republished in a Muslim country, not as some sort of meaningless statement as some of our press did, but with real consequences and dangers:

BBC | Yemen editor jailed over cartoons

[…]

The editor, Kamal al-Aalafi, said he had reprinted the cartoons to raise awareness, not to insult Muslims.

[…]

It seems two other Yemeni newspapers also published the cartoons.Now, I wonder if our wonderful press, the one that balks at discussing George Bush’s missing years in the military, would publish similar cartoons about say the same George Bush?

[ Link ]

Read the full post and comments »

Pages

Categories

Activism

Bookmarks

Logic

Orgs

Philosophy