Sam Harris's 'Riddle of the Gun'

On his blog, Sam Harris has posted a powerful commentary on guns. His position is not readily pigeon-holed as pro or anti gun, but rather he concedes certain realities and necessities with his customary rationality, logic and clarity. I find myself not always comfortable with his conclusions and positions, but I am nevertheless in essentially complete agreement.

I've chosen one paragraph from his commentary which seems to me right to the point:


Wounded Veterans

This is the actual lead sentence from a USAToday story today:

Train crashes into Texas veterans parade; 4 dead

MIDLAND, Texas (AP) — An event organizer says there are four dead and 17 hospitalized after a train crashed into a trailer carrying veterans during a West Texas parade.…

Now, doesn't that sentence imply the "event organizer" arranged for the train crash? The event was intended to honor wounded veterans, but I couldn't help but wonder if that's how we GET wounded veterans in the first place.

A Better World for nothing. cvining Wed, 03/07/2012 - 17:49

Joel Pett, a cartoonist with the Lexington-Herald Leader, has brilliantly captured the silliness of opposition to climate friendly policies with the caption:

"What if it's all a hoax and we create a better world for nothing?"

The cartoon itself is widely reproduced on the internet, but I haven't paid the fees to reproduce it here. Still, you should be able to find it at one of these links:


Bad Netflix Picks

OK, I do mostly like Netflix. Even though they often won't stream the film I'd really like to watch, usually I can find something I haven't seen. But their "Suggestions For You" are, often as not, just silly.

Here are two examples Netflix thought I'd like, and why:

Drupal Hosting via BOA: Benchmarking cvining Fri, 02/10/2012 - 16:14
  1. Rackspace, 512M RAM, quad-core, Debian 6 (Squeeze), 64-bit, stock php.ini memory_limit =128MB
  2. Amazon EC2,612M RAM, single-core,Ubuntu 10.04 LTS, 64-bit, micro-instance:ubuntu/images/ebs/ubuntu-lucid-10.04-amd64-server-20120110 (ami-8eb33ebe), stock php.ini memory_limit = 128MB.
    1. Added a 3GB swap volume, as no swap was included in the AMI
Drupal + RackspaceCloud + Ubuntu + ISPConfig + Nginx (DRUIN) vs. Shared Hosting cvining Tue, 01/17/2012 - 13:46

I host a number of low traffic Drupal ( websites.  Several for a non-profit, a few consulting shops, a book & poetry site.  Low traffic, but a couple sites use lots of drupal modules, so performance and resource limits can sometimes be issues.


Headline: Army looking at how fish oil might reduce suicides

OK, here's the story.

I've got my Google homepage setup to give me headlines from various sources.  Anything really big will be on all of them.  You know, I need to keep informed.  So as I can hold an informed conversation down at the Wheelhouse Tavern.  But from time to time there will be an oddball headline that just catches my attention.

Today's winner?  This one:  "Army looking at how fish oil might reduce suicides."

Mind you, I'm not all that interested in the story.  I just want to parse the headline.

Something For Nothing Expired Today cvining Mon, 07/25/2011 - 09:19

Money isn't real: it's just a mutual agreement to keep track of what we've promised to each other.  Frequent Flyer Miles are even less real.  But trading the two, until today, could get you travel around the world at no cost.

Here's how it works.  Get one of those credit cards that gets you frequent flyer points for your purchse.  Then, go to the US Mint and buy dollar coins, charged to your credit card.  The Mint would ship you the coins for free.  You deposit the coins in your bank, pay off your credit card, and pocket the Frequent Flyer points.  Voila.  Something fo nothing.