Sick of wacky religions? Convert to the one true faith, Flying Spaghetti Monster-ism

Kansas is set to approve an official science standard for their schools that includes the teaching of “Intelligent Design” and criticism of evolutional theories. (Yes, this is likely old news to you.)

I really wanted to put a huge post up, but for now let’s leave this as a Damn It, Kansas moment.

Damn it, Kansas, you’re screwing this up. No one wants hear your version of how science works. Faith is a personal, intimate experience; this is a self-serving, headline-grabbing, narrow-minded move. I believe in God, but that doesn’t change the fact that some things are measurable and true. Faith does not give you license to ignore reality.

To all that right-leaning bloggers who are screaming for a fatwa against terrorism, try calling for the Christian leaders in this country to call for an end to the idiocy going on in Kansas. The whole world is not Christian; read the Bible and stop listening to some upwardly-mobile, hypocritical preacher.

To all the left-leaning bloggers who are making insulting parodies of Christian dogma thinking you’re making a point to anyone but your personnel echo chamber, you’re only hurting your argument. Insulting people only makes them less likely to listen to you; this is doubly true for the zealous (think Mac zealots).

This argument is taking attention away from other, real problems in schools throughout this country, mainly that they don’t teach, they indoctrinate. Make critcial thinkers, not kids who think only to be critical. THEN you can try and screw them up.

Macromedia Drop Freehand

Macromedia has announced that they will not included Freehand in the next release of their suite, Studio 8. Since the Adobe announced that they were buying Macromedia, speculation has run wild about what products would get killed. Freehand was high on that list. While a capable program (I actually like using it quite a bit), it’s not nearly as powerful or flexible as Illustrator.

It will be interesting to see what else gets killed as the merger moves forward. I can’t see GoLive making it to the next version.


A Rocket to Nowhere

Back in the day, I was a huge space nut. You know that kid you went to school with who knew just a little too much about dinosaurs? Yeah, that was me, only with NASA.

But, I have to admit, the luster of manned space flight has tarnished of late. The “science” isn’t there, and the almost obessive nature of NASA’s desire to “fix” the Shuttle program is sad to watch as an adult.

So, when I saw a link from Kottke to Maciej Ceglowski’s post “A Rocket to Nowhere“, I had to click.

It’s harsh. It’s bitter. It’s also true.

The goal cannot be to have a safe space program – rocket science is going to remain difficult and risky. But we have the right to demand that the space program have some purpose beyond trying to keep its participants alive.

Ceglowski’s post is spot on. Spend time to read the whole thing; it’s worth it. He writes like someone who has dreamed the dream, but woken up to a harsh reality. He writes what I want to have written. As my generation starts to raise their children and reflect on what it meant to be children ourselves, dinosaurs and space travel take on a new intrigue, seen through the eyes of those children. How will those children see our childhood world? How will we see it in a few more years?

With programs like Burt Rutan and SpaceShip One, space travel is slowing reaching the very real edge of space exploration, teasing that irrational hope of touching the stars. I would hate to see Ceglowski’s post stand as a epitaph to the Shuttle program, but it does deserve to stand witness as the rational evaluation of the close of the Shuttle program.


Repeat after me: Google is Just as Bad as

Google, the search company that knows everything about you, your friends, and that night in Vegas, is cutting off CNET over this story (which, ironically, now gets more Google juice thanks to this moronic PR move). From CNET:

Google could not be immediately reached for comment. (Google representatives have instituted a policy of not talking with CNET reporters until July 2006 in response to privacy issues raised by a previous story.)

So what’s the big deal? CNET’s original article used Google to dig up all kinds of information about Google CEO Eric Schmidt, such as his attendance at Burning Man and his status as a pilot. Ground-breaking stuff? Not really. But it apparently pissed someone off. Here’s the real problem:

“But if you step back and look at the suite of products and how they are used, you realize Google can have a lot of personal information about individuals’ Internet habits–e-mail, saving search history, images, personal information from (social network site) Orkut–it represents a significant threat to privacy.” [Chris Hoofnagle of the Electronic Privacy Information Center.]

“Your search history shows your associations, beliefs, perhaps your medical problems. The things you Google for define you,” [Kevin] Bankston, [staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation] said.

Here’s my favorite part:

Google’s privacy policy says it may share information submitted under a Google account service “among all of our services in order to provide you with a seamless experience and to improve the quality of our services.” Google representatives wouldn’t elaborate on what that means.

Wouldn’t elaborate on what it means? Are they serious? When DoubleClick did something similar back in 2000, the righteous indignation and outrage actually boiled over into the courtroom. Google is requiring users to give up the same information DoubleClick had to buy.

So, here’s where I say “boycott Google” and don my tin foil hat, right? Well, no. It’s actually a little late for that. Google already has the info, most of it publicly available on the internet from a variety of sources. I have a couple GMail accounts (although I don’t actually use them). Hell, Google is my default homepage. A lot of my data is there. A lot of your data is there.

But when your corporate slogan is (informally) “Don’t Be Evil“, shouldn’t you at least define what you are and aren’t going to do with the literally pedabytes of data. The Google privacy does say they will never share your information with third parties. But that doesn’t mean that all your data isn’t stored in all of Google’s services to “enhance” your experience. Enterprising Google hackers already know how to find MP3s, Social Security numbers, and credit card numbers. What’s to stop someone from cracking a Google–owned system and extracting all that data (aside from all the former spooks Google hires who secure their networks).

Google has great services, but they are not your friend. They are also now a public company and subject to laws that make them operate in the interests of their investors, not their users. Hmm… when I put it that way, they almost sound like…

UPDATE: Check out EPIC 2005.

Top Tips for Running Your Internet News Website

So, you want to make a fortune on the internets, eh? Well my friend, then you need to start a news site devoted to internet-related news. That’s right, follow these simple steps and you’ll soon be pulling in enough Google juice you too will make a million dollars a year on Google Ads.

  • Republish every press release. Every. One. MSN upgrades their Shopforcrap Beta site? Let the world know!
  • Google is perfect. Seriously, the last being that walked the Earth that was as pure and beautiful as Google was instantly killed so its beauty could not be tarnished.
  • Everyone loves cell phones. Make sure to publish every photo, rumor, and technical spec, no matter how speculative, on every single phone that could possibly be made in the next two decades. Bonus coverage for being able to insert a new convergence-style phrase your headline. (“Marginal company releases cell phone/matter transporter, with MP3 and direct line to God!)
  • Apple has released an operating system that cannot be improved. It is basically Superman in software form. It is immune to hackers, crashes, hyperbole, and radiation. Should nuclear war occur, the only things left will be Twinkies, cockroaches, and OS X.
  • The music industry’s efforts to combat piracy should never be editorialized. Take their word for it; they paid for the research you’re going to publish. Never mind if you’re also running an academic study that runs counter to the music industry’s report. All is well. This is not the information you’re looking for.
  • Never, ever legitimize gaming. For the love of God, they only make a few billion dollars. It’s still creepy 40-year-olds playing World of Warcraft or blood-red-eyed 13-year-olds training for the next massacre at their high-school playing Socom.
  • VoIP is awesome! Seriously, didn’t you hear about it at the last sponsor retreat? Some guy told me all about it. It’s so freakin’ awesome to be tethered to your computer to save a marginal amount of money and talk to your brother over a connection Nextel would laugh at.
  • Research your articles. Make sure you know how badly Windows sucks, not why it sucks. Make sure you troll Slashdot for good lines about how BSD could reverse global warming and make pandas have multiple litters annually.
  • Firefox all day, every day. Publish their download stats at least weekly. In fact, you could break ground by being the first news site to have a download counter on the homepage. Wow.. Firefox. Bonus coverage for pointing out features Firefox has that Opera introduced. Double bonus for linking to Opera.
  • RSS baby! Hell yeah! I mean, it’s like really simple (wink)! You should have no fewer than six dozen RSS feeds on your site, but make sure that the content you deliver via those feeds bears no resemblance whatsoever to the implied content. For instance, if you have a shopping feed for hard drives, be sure to publish your lucrative Japanese hentai soda ads there too.
  • And finally, remember who pays the bills. That’s right, the advertisers. Ads everywhere. Homepage, RSS feeds, embedded in the podcast, dripping from tags on the clothing at Cafepress, Photoshopped into photos from SXSW. Get hats, use pop-up ads, pay booth babes to tattoo their… well.. you get the picture. If readers complain that the content is hard to find, screw ’em. Oh, make sure to get those cool Flash ads too; people love those.

Follow these few steps and I guarentee you’ll be as popular as any of the Technorati Top 100. Cross my heart.

The preceding was sarcasm. If you are angry after reading the above, you don’t get sarcasm. Go outside.