What A Day!

An alarm was going off at work, and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t find the source. I called a technician and asked him to help find the source and shut it off.

I followed him around as he went from station to station trying to find the source of the alarm and turn it off. More than once, the technician would say, “Aha!” and push a button; yet the annoying alarm kept blaring.

Despair began to settle in that we were never going to find the source of this horrible and terrifying alarm and that I would certainly get into trouble for it. The technician stopped and we looked at each other, and he grudgingly admitted, “I don’t know how to turn this off.”

I woke up in my bed, the alarm on my iPhone going off. It was all a dream. I grumbled as I tapped “snooze,” rolled over, and went back to sleep.

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On the First Amendment of the US Constitution

First, let me get a legal disclaimer out of the way:  I am not a lawyer.  I am a layperson who has an opinion and who can read English.  Do not use this post as any kind of legal advice.  Seek out a lawyer for that.

Let me first begin by giving the full text of the First Amendment to the US Constitution:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

It is specifically the “Religion” clause that I’m going to tackle.  Note what this says about the “establishment of religion.”  This requires a bit of historical context.

The original colonies that made up what would eventually become the United States of America were originally people who had been persecuted in England due to their religious beliefs: Quakers would settle in Pennsylvania, Catholics settled in Maryland, Puritans would settle in Massachusetts, and so on.

The United States was not and is not one faith under God.  It was many faiths: Catholic and Protestant alike.

England, at the time all of this was happening, specifically had an “official” religion for much of its more recent history.  This was usually the Church of England (at least since the reign of Henry VIII), but at various times has also been Catholic (pre-Henry, but also during the time of Mary I, Elizabeth I’s half-sister and at various other times), and whatever the hell Oliver Cromwell was.  But there was hardly a time in England’s history that it didn’t have an “official” religion.

For the US, this Amendment made it specifically clear that our Founding Fathers weren’t brooking any of that nonsense.  They specifically forbade Congress from establishing any religion as an “official” religion of the US, mostly because they knew that no one would agree what that religion should be.  The solution: it should be none of them.

Okay, to put it another way.  Let’s say you had walked into a courthouse and had seen this on the wall (assuming you are Christian, that is):

In the name of Allah, Most gracious, Most merciful
Praise be to Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the Worlds
Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
Master of the Day of Judgement
Thee do we worship, and Thine aide we seek
Show us the straight way
The way of those on whom Thou has bestowed thy Grace, those whose portion
Is not wrath, and who do not go astray.

–Qu’ran

(source)

What would your reaction be?  For a Muslim, this would be a mindful prayer, and would have a specific meaning to him.  To you (a Christian), this might be an effrontery.

So, before you get up in arms about how you’re being persecuted for being a Christian because the Supreme Court ruled that you cannot post the Ten Commandments in front of your town hall, understand that this is to protect your own rights as a Christian/Muslim/Jew/Pagan/Heathen/Atheist.

A Man Playing Female Characters

One of my Christmas presents this year was a gift card, which I promptly used to reinstate my Eve Online account.  I decided to start from scratch and create three new characters, hoping to find one that sticks.

The first new character I created was Erinn Ferguson, a Gallente field tech

.Erinn Ferguson

I didn’t realize that you could modify the wireframe subtly when I created her, and so she looks kinda young to me (maybe 18 or 19).

Next, I created Tom O’Malley (a Gallente shipping magnate):

Image

This one, I made as close to me as I could, given the limits of the client and apparently my video card (or lack thereof).

Then there is my newest character which I just made this week.  This is Mila Shardani, a True Amarr. I haven’t decided what I’m doing with her yet.

Image

This one I gave all of the sexy.  Since she is Amarr, I gave her a little modesty, or else I would also have made her wearing as little clothing as I felt I could get away with.

There are some who would criticize me for this, as if I’m misleading people into thinking that I’m a woman.

First of all, I half-jokingly tell people that since the perspective as you play these characters is in the third person, I would rather stare at a woman’s ass all day than a man’s ass.

Secondly, I am reminded of a joke I read somewhere, “The internet: Where the men are boys, the women are men, and the children are FBI agents.”  In other words: caveat emptor.

Thirdly, I don’t play the female characters any differently than I do the male characters.  Essentially, they are males with boobs.

What do you think?

How Dogs Would Communicate If They Could Talk

Have you ever wondered how dogs communicate with each other?

Dogs are amazing creatures, and science is just now beginning to appreciate how intelligent these animals are.  A recent episode of PBS’s Nova pointed this out: Dogs can naturally do things that many humans take for granted–things that not even a chimpanzee can do, such as understanding a human’s hand gestures and facial expressions.

Dogs are limited in speech, this much is evident.  A close listen to dogs who can supposedly “talk,” reveals that while the vowel sounds sound very close to sounds a human might make, the consonants are severely lacking (the famous video of a dog supposedly saying “I love you” sounds more like “Rye Ruh Rue.”)

Part of the problem is that a dog’s lips are simply not made for the kind of speech we use every day, nor is their tongue.  This eliminates many consonants that they can speak.

Besides, naming things based on how something looks does not make sense for a dog, since their sight is hundreds (if not thousands) of times less detailed than their sense of smell.  Additionally, they don’t see color the same way we do; for example, a dog can only see blue, yellow and gray (source), so a dog calling something “red” just doesn’t make much sense.

Also, dogs have no concept of a deity, so all names ending in “-el” are out: Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, and so on.

But a dog “calling” something based on its scent makes perfect sense to me.  Humans would call her “Ms. Fluffy,” but dogs call her “Lilacs In Spring.”  Humans call him “Rex,” but dogs call him “Hint Of Garbage.”  (I just made myself laugh)