Oct 15, 2009
Anyone who wants to get in touch with me during my jail time will have to use good, old-fashioned snail mail. The address is Jokelan vankila, PL 20, 05401 Jokela. Other information on the Jokela prison web page, such as it is.
See you all in February.
Oct 14, 2009
Brian Burke, after being introduced as the 13th general manager of the Maple Leafs, promised that his team – and it is very much that now – will evolve into a pull-no-punches, in-your-face squad, an approach reflective of the guy now calling the shots.
"We require, as a team, proper levels of pugnacity, testosterone, truculence and belligerence. That's how our teams play," said Burke.
That's a funny word, truculence. Let's see what the dictionary says:
truculent (comparative more truculent, superlative most truculent)
1. Of things or persons that are cruel or savage
2. Deadly or destructive.
3. Defiant or uncompromising.
4. (hockey) 0-5-1.
The new Leafs? Same as the old Leafs.
Oct 13, 2009
Tooth decay. From the Cambridge journal Public Health Nutrition:
Dental diseases, particularly dental caries, are the most expensive part of the body to treat. Caries is indeed the most expensive human disease in terms of direct costs. For example, the direct costs of caries treatment in Germany was 20.2 billion, CVD 15.4 billion DM, diabetes 2.3 billion DM.4. In West Germany, the cost of dental care was 10.3% of the health budget in 19945.
And if that didn't blow your mind, this will.
Globe and Mail: Group of U.S. conservatives rewrite the Bible
After all these years, one could assume the Bible has held up pretty well, but a group of conservatives in the United States thinks it needs a rewrite.
The folks behind Conservapedia, a right-leaning version of Wikipedia, have launched the Conservative Bible Project, aimed at getting rid of what they call liberal bias, wordiness, emasculation and a general dumbing down of the Old and New Testaments.
A dozen or so users, led by Conservapedia founder Andy Schlafly – the son of conservative political activist Phyllis Schlafly – are tackling the 27 books of the New Testament and 39 books of the Old Testament. Anyone can offer suggested changes.
Just read the article. I could quote all of it.
Poe's Law: "Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor, it is impossible to create a parody of Fundamentalism that SOMEONE won't mistake for the real thing." 
That article is PROOF.
Conservapedia's own project page is, if possible, even more hilarious. Here's some excerpts, retrieved 20091012. All boldface in the original.
Liberal bias has become the single biggest distortion in modern Bible translations. There are three sources of errors in conveying biblical meaning are, in increasing amount:
* lack of precision in the original language, such as terms underdeveloped to convey new concepts introduced by Christ
* lack of precision in modern language
* translation bias in converting the original language to the modern one.
Experts in ancient languages are helpful in reducing the first type of error above, which is a vanishing source of error as scholarship advances understanding. English language linguists are helpful in reducing the second type of error, which also decreases due to an increasing vocabulary. But the third -- and largest -- source of translation error requires conservative principles to reduce and eliminate.
So there you have it. According to Conservapedia, not only is the media biased toward liberals, and Wikipedia, but even the Bible is contaminated by liberal bias. Here's some of the "ten commandments" they suggest for rescuing the Word of God from liberals:
Utilize Powerful Conservative Terms: using powerful new conservative terms as they develop; defective translations use the word "comrade" three times as often as "volunteer"; similarly, updating words which have a change in meaning, such as "word", "peace", and "miracle".
Express Free Market Parables; explaining the numerous economic parables with their full free-market meaning
Prefer Conciseness over Liberal Wordiness: preferring conciseness to the liberal style of high word-to-substance ratio; avoid compound negatives and unnecessary ambiguities; prefer concise, consistent use of the word "Lord" rather than "Jehovah" or "Yahweh" or "Lord God."
There you go! The Bible isn't conservative and free market oriented enough. This must change.
Also, "liberal wordiness"?
Here's one of their own examples:
Third Example - Socialism
Socialistic terminology permeates English translations of the Bible, without justification. This improperly encourages the "social justice" movement among Christians.
For example, the conservative word "volunteer" is mentioned only once in the ESV, yet the socialistic word "comrade" is used three times, "laborer(s)" is used 13 times, "labored" 15 times, and "fellow" (as in "fellow worker") is used 55 times.
As a translator myself, I don't know how to start explaining how wrong this is. Their problem isn't how a given Greek or Hebrew word is translated, but whether the word it is translated into is "liberal" or "conservative". Astonishing.
Yes, you can't beat wood ... Gorn!
What's gorn dear?
Nothing, nothing, I just like the word. It gives me confidence. Gorn ... gorn. It's got a sort of conservative quality about it. Gorn. Gorn. Much better than `newspaper' or `litterbin'.
Ugh! Newspaper! ... litterbin ... dreadful liberal sort of words. Lib, lib, lib.
The daughter bursts into tears.
Oh, dear, don't say `lib' to Rebecca, you know how it upsets her.
(to the daughter) Sorry old horse.
Sausage ... there's a good conservative sort of word, `sausage' ... gorn.
Where? On the lawn? (he picks up a rifle)
No, no, daddy ... just the word.
Don't want an antelope nibbling the hoops.
No, antelope ... sort of nice and conservative type of thing.
Don't think so, Becky old chap.
No, no, `antelope', `antelope' -- liberal sort of word (the daughter bursts into tears) Oh! Sorry old man ...
"We'll have him in our Bible."
The staggering fact is that Poe's Law works here. I know this is an actual Conservapedia page, and I've read the article in the Globe and Mail where they actually interview Schlafly about the project. So I know this isn't a parody.
But still, when I read the actual project page, the whole thing is so incredibly preposterous that I can't quite convince myself it isn't a parody. They're really proposing creating a "new translation" of the Bible, not by retranslating it, but by rewriting the English text to conform to their ideology.
You really can't make fun of these people at all.
Oct 9, 2009
BBC: Obama wins 2009 Nobel Peace Prize
US President Barack Obama has won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize.
The Nobel Committee said he was awarded it for "his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and co-operation between peoples".
I saw the headline and I thought this has to be a joke.
What efforts? Pretty speeches? Idealistic statements? What, exactly, has Barack Obama actually done to advance world peace? Nothing. Nada. Zilch.
I thought it was ridiculous when Al Gore won the Peace Prize for doing a shoddy mockumentary on climate change, but this is even worse. The Nobel Peace Prize is now officially a complete joke.
Oct 5, 2009
Guardian: Treasury plan to force banks to lend in poorer communities
Plans to force Britain's banks to pump money into poor communities in exchange for their massive taxpayer bailouts are being drawn up by the Treasury, a senior minister has revealed.
Liam Byrne, chief secretary to the Treasury, said last week that the time was ripe to consider a UK version of America's Community Reinvestment Act, introduced in the 1970s to prevent banks abandoning deprived areas.
The CRA has resulted in American banks lending billions of dollars in rundown inner-city districts, and, with public anger at the activities of financial institutions running high, Byrne said he was actively considering a similar scheme for Britain.
"It is an interesting idea, which we are exploring earnestly at the Treasury," he told a fringe meeting at last week's Labour conference in Brighton.
The chief secretary added that there were two issues that worried him and his Treasury team – the lack of any hard evidence that particular communities were being frozen out by the British banking industry, and concerns that CRA-induced lending to poor households in the US had triggered the sub-prime crisis.
"These are serious questions for us to explore," Byrne said. "But we wouldn't be looking at it if we didn't think it would be a good idea."
You. Have. Got. To. Be. Kidding.
For those of you not keeping score, the financial crisis was, in my opinion at least, primarily caused by two things: reckless mortgages that led to the housing bubble, and reckless financing. The first was based, at least in part, on the CRA; the second was based, at least in part, on the fact that all major Western banks know their governments won't let them go bankrupt, so they can basically do what they like.
So, in order to avoid another crisis like this, what are we doing?
- the Obama administration wants to label certain companies "systemically important", and extend a guarantee that they are never going to go bankrupt (Bloomberg.com)
- the British Labour Party wants to bring subprime mortgages to Europe
Are they even trying to fix anything?