Monthly Archives: April 2005

yippee yippee

the trailer for “Serenity” is here.

some day i’d love to write an article about the derivative nature of the whedon canon — derivative, i say again, is good, essential, and ubiquitous. whedon & crew’s derivations are a fine, fine example of building-upon, tweaking, mixing, improving, mashing, and processing mythology, pop culture, science fiction, and many other sources thru a personal visionary sausage grinder. a process involved in all creation, but so rarely done well, and even more rarely done with graceful consciousness of the derivative nature of the work; deft handling, respect, and respectful criticism of the raw materials …

[this post was inspired by photomatt on serenity and on da vinci crock]


related posts: yippee yippee 2

news flash: surnames are (usually) patrilineal

And geneticists are using DNA to uncover relationships in populations all the time. Jobling’s colleague, Turi King, profiled the Y chromosomes of 150 men with random surnames and compared them with 150 men who shared surnames. Unexpectedly, she found that sharing a surname means you are highly likely also to share a Y chromosome.

— Alok Jha, The Adam and Eve of genetics, Salon.com Technology, 2005/4/29

Okay, what am I missing here? Isn’t this, well, obvious? Maybe with extremely common surnames (Smith, Garcia, or Chang/Zheng) the expectation is that there is virtually no relationship at all among those so named, because the names independently developed multiple times. But surely it’s statistically likely that Juan Garcia is more closely related to Tomas Garcia than to, say, Leon Martinez? And in the case of less common surnames, passed down patrilineally, in almost all cases with the actual Y chromosome, wouldn’t we really expect to find a high concordance of common Y chromosomes?

ip/tech news & really stupid & annoying republicans

  • wiretaps increased last year: Wiretaps in U.S. Jump 19 Percent in 2004 [sfgate 4/28] i’m pondering whether the wiretappers’ efficiency also increased? can they scan information more quickly now? did governments take cops off the streets to put them in surveillance vans? or did the governments hire a bunch of new wiretappers? hmm, all sorts of interesting new questions. SFGate says the investigators pursued “drug and other cases.” Where are the much-vaunted terrorists against whom the PATRIOT Act wiretap expansions were supposed to be used? The non-terrorist taps increased 28%, which means the terrorist-related taps increased, well, very approximately, by 10%? One final editorial comment: These are actual wiretaps. Approved by the courts. Nobody bothers to cite the numbers of wiretaps denied by the courts. Why? Because courts always, always say yes. Thank god for that impartial third branch protecting us from the tyranny of the executive.
  • european libraries kick-start their own digitization campaigns. [DW 2005/4/27] Excellent. How many years has it been since Michael Hart started project gutenberg? followed by numerous small-scale digitizing projects at individual libraries & museums? I guess PG didn’t quite pose sufficient “risk of a crushing American domination in the definition of how future generations conceive the world.” Well, if it took google to kick-start the digitization of the world, I can only say hurrah, what took you all so long?
  • the criminalization of copyright continues apace. [sigh]
  • what was DeLay’s beef with Kennedy doing his own research on the Internet, anyway? doesn’t DeLay have enough to keep him busy? DeLay is really trying hard to compete for the title Chief Dumbass.

    “Absolutely. We’ve got Justice Kennedy writing decisions based upon international law, not the Constitution of the United States? That’s just outrageous,” DeLay told Fox News Radio. “And not only that, but he said in session that he does his own research on the Internet? That is just incredibly outrageous.”

    seattle times 4/20 linked from politechbot.

  • also in the running for Chief Dumbass, Sen. Rick Santorum. In this episode, however, Santorum isn’t so much a Dumbass as he is, well, really annoying. Santorum complains that the National Weather Service is giving away its data for free, and introduces a bill to stop that dastardly practice. I guess under his model we could write scripts that generate FOIA requests for weather data. Or does he think the data should be classified? Or maybe the government shouldn’t be gathering it at all? That must be it, because then we wouldn’t have to track that pesky global climate change. It really reminds me of the old Census story: One citizen responded to on their Census form, “You can find all this in your almanac, and then you wouldn’t have to take the Census.” Anyway … the folks at the carpetbagger report explain the donations & big business constituents behind this bit of annoying arrogance & stupidity. Why are Pennsylvanians tolerating this fool?

good job texas

Texas bans gay foster parents. now, if only they can figure out a way for people to know their own sexuality. [link from misc heathen 4/22]

update: ping analyzed the so-called research on ‘homosexual’ foster parents

and jon stewart’s The Daily Show aired the solution to knowing if you’re gay or not (or dangerously bisexual): Texas has initiated a quiz for prospective foster parents:

Fill in the last lines of this quote:

At first I was afraid; I was __________.

  1. petrified
  2. I don’t know.

hear, hear

siva calls out the folks who keep on talking to men in the public interest tech community & ignoring the women who’ve laid the groundwork: SIVACRACY.NET: Siva Vaidhyanathan’s Weblog: Y (Chromosome) the Same Old Faces? [thanks to copyfight]

and an nyu student demonstrates to j. antonin scalia understand that the private sex practices of consenting adults ought to be, well, private. (at a Q&A at nyu, the student asked j. scalia about his position regarding Lawrence, and dissatisfied with his response, followed up with the question: “Do you sodomize your wife?”) [page 6 in the nypost and Eric Berndt, the student questioner, explaining why he did it] [thanks to copyfight AGAIN] i wonder if j. scalia got the point? or did he merely console & distract himself by feeling outraged that someone would be so rude & inappropriate? ‘you can disagree with someone’s politics, but that doesn’t give them the right to verbally assault you in public!’ does he think it would be more appropriate & less embarrassing if asked by a prosecutor or judge in a courtroom with the coercive threat of prison and/or punitive fines and/or registration on ‘sex offender’ databases behind the question? [rewritten 5/5]

5/5: oh yeah. and did i mention how curious i found the blog commentary on this incident? on so-called liberal / progressive blogs, commentary seemed largely critical. ‘He did our cause a great disservice; how dare he be so rude & uppity’ with only a small minority defending the kid. [See, e.g., daily kos 4/12] And on the right-wing blogs I read that day I saw more commentary & debate between people who thought it was rude & people who got the point about individual rights & privacy! [I will try to remember which blogs those were - maybe volokh conspiracy.]

old news – ll cool j vs. chuck d

We already knew this, but Chuck D. is pretty cool:

LL Cool J has come out in support of the US music industry’s legal threats music downloaders. LL was speaking to a Senate committee investigating whether the industry has been too heavy-handed .

“My question is, if a contractor builds a building, should people be allowed to move into the building for free?” he told senators.

But fellow rapper Chuck D, of Public Enemy, said people should be allowed to swap songs on peer-to-peer sites.

“P2P to me means power to the people,” said Chuck D. “I trust the consumer more than I trust the people at the helm of these (record) companies.”

The rap star later added: “LL’s a staunch American…but when you solely have an American state of mind, you’re increasingly becoming a smaller part of the world.”

LL Cool J – Supports RIAA Actions : DanceFrontDoor Dance Music [2003/Oct/1]