Ten Better Commandments?

November 26, 2007

Richard Dawkins has made the point that if God were so perfect that he could have come up with ten better commandments than the ones in the Bible. Depending on your particular flavor of the Judeo-Christian-Islamic religion (singular as always for me), the ten commandments may differ slightly. Here are the ten commandments on wikipedia with a good write up, including the original text of the Bible, which is either 16 or 15 paragraphs, depending on whether you prefer to take the version from Exodus or the version from Deuteronomy. That there are two versions and that they differ should immediately strike any thinking person as signifying that the Bible just may not be quite as perfect as many people assert anyway.

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Canoe Paddling Techniques

November 23, 2007

A canoe is a great platform for wildlife viewing. Many species come down to the water’s edge. Some, like otters, beaver, muskrat, and mink are aquatic by nature. With a little practice, it is also easier to paddle quietly than to hike quietly, providing an even better experience. So, it’s good to know how to control the canoe well and quietly to have a good opportunity to see all the wildlife available.

Getting to a descent level of paddling ability is not hard. I am no expert. My wife and I learned a few techniques for flat water and mild white water that have proven incredibly valuable in all paddling conditions. We learned the basics from a Maine guide during a trip down the Allagash Wilderness Waterway years ago. I hope these basic techniques will help you to enjoy this wonderful activity.

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Golden Oldie Geek Humor

November 23, 2007

It’s humor time again. I’m trying to avoid making this a total geek blog. Sometimes though, I just can’t resist. Here are a few very dated bits of computer humor that will bring back memories for some and make the younger crowd go, ‘huh?’

Real Programmers Don’t Eat Quiche; Real Computer Scientists Don’t Eat Quiche; Real Software Engineers Eat Quiche – On the last, I remember this as Real Application Programmers. If you mentally change all occurrences of software engineer with application programmer (or just pipe it to “sed ‘s,Software Engineer,Application Programmer,g'”) you’ll get it the way I remember it from years gone by.

If Architects Had to Work Like Programmers – A real classic. For non-geeks, take my word for it, programming really is like this.

The Adventures of Luke Vaxhacker – Only a certain brand of geek will still appreciate this one. And, that brand will love the font.

Moral Considerability – What does it mean? To whom does it apply?

November 21, 2007

First, moral considerability is essentially the technical jargon in the field of morals that is used to indicate whether or not one is worthy of moral consideration. As moral people tend to grant moral considerability to all other humans, the term is primarily used in relation to other species.

As an aside, I would point out that religion or other strong ideologies sometimes cause people to treat other humans without granting other groups moral considerability. Anyone who believes it is OK to kill or enslave members of any outgroup is clearly not granting that group moral considerability.

That said, I would try to keep this post to the topic of what species other than humans should also be granted moral considerability. As I have hinted in my title by the use of the word whom for members of other species, I clearly believe, quite strongly, that many other species are worthy of such consideration. I have often surprised people by asking who that bird is, rather than what that bird is or other equivalent. I believe living beings should be referred to as who and whom rather than what. It keeps us from forgetting that they are indeed other beings, not inanimate objects.

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Blame God for the Drought!!

November 20, 2007

I’m just back from a driving trip around this god infested country (the U.S. if that isn’t obvious). While driving on I-95 in Georgia, I saw a church with a large sign outside saying, ‘Thank God for the rain.’ Georgia and much of the southeastern U.S. had been in a pretty severe drought until just before the start of our trip.

We were glad for the rain too as we were heading to the Okefenokee Swamp with the intent of paddling our canoe there. However, the idea of thanking a supreme being for rain after a drought, even if one were to believe in a supreme being, seemed exceedingly hypocritical.

How is thanking God for rain hypocritical?

Well, either God is responsible for rain or s/he isn’t.

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Reproductive Choice

November 2, 2007

First and foremost, I would like to let everyone know what seems obvious, but may not be. Reproduction is a choice. Just because you grew up assuming you’d get married, move out to the burbs, and pop out a litter of street urchins doesn’t mean that you actually have to do it. If that is right for you, fine.

But, please, at least think about it first.

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