Week of 22 February 2010
Update: Friday, 26 February 2010 08:44 -0500
We're getting some hints of spring approaching. It was warm enough
yesterday, with the high in the mid-60's (~ 18 șC), for Barbara to
bathe Malcolm. Over the next week or so there's some snow in the
forecast and lows near or just below freezing, but things are gradually
warming up after our coldest winter in recent memory.
And I'm talking to my editor at O'Reilly about maybe doing a new book or two this year.
Tuesday, 23 February 2010
I've been throttled! Netflix received three discs back from me
yesterday, but shipped me only two replacement discs. Of course, that's
the first time they've done that since I reactivated my membership last
spring, so I really can't complain. In the last ten months, they've
shipped me something like 250 discs.
Today, I'm going to devote
some time to cleaning up my lab. I've been shooting a lot of videos and
using a lot of glassware. When I finish shooting, I've just been
rinsing and stacking the glassware. I'm afraid there'll be an avalanche
if I don't do something soon.
Wednesday, 24 February 2010
Hmmm. After several days of warm temperatures, with highs near
68F/20C, winter has returned. It's currently just above freezing, with
heavy snow. Fortunately, the snow is to move through pretty quickly,
with accumulations of only one or two inches (2.5 to 5 cm) expected.
The ground is warm enough that it's not sticking to the streets.
More lab work today. I need to shoot another video or two.
Thursday, 25 February 2010
Don't Ask. Don't Tell. I can't believe that in 2010 the subject of gays
in the military is even an issue. Surely not even the most virulent
anti-gay people can really believe that gay people are any less
patriotic, any less courageous, any less competent, or any less worthy
than raving heterosexuals. Since the institution of the
don't-ask-don't-tell policy under Clinton, about 13,000 gay people have
left the service. That's 13,000 people we couldn't afford to lose.
I'm a fighter pilot, I don't care if my wingman is black or white or
yellow or green with purple stripes, man or woman, gay, straight,
transsexual, hermaphroditic, or a border collie/retriever mix. I just
want him/her/it to cover my ass as best as it can possibly be covered.
If I'm an infantryman, I don't care what kind of pornography my
fireteam buddies keep in their lockers. I just want them to cover me,
and to drag me to safety if I'm hit.
Back in the 1960's, the
older brother of a guy I knew was a virulent racist. His conversation
was constantly sprinkled with nigger this and nigger that. Then he got
a letter from Uncle Sam and ended up as a foot soldier in Viet Nam,
where he was wounded in a firefight. A year or two after he returned, I
commented to my friend that I hadn't heard his brother use the word
nigger since he'd gotten home. It went further than that, he said. His
brother wouldn't tolerate anyone criticizing people because of
their skin color. When he was wounded and lying exposed to continuing
hostile fire, it was a black guy--a black guy who knew that he didn't like black people--who'd left cover and come out under fire to carry him to safety.
that the DADT policy does is reinforce the stereotypes. The tacit
assumption is that the guys who finish first on the obstacle course
must be the good, clean straight guys, and those who straggle in last
must be the gay guys. The top-notch aircraft mechanics and scroungers
and sharpshooters must be the straight guys, and the screw-ups the gay
guys. The guys who charge out in front in combat operations must be the
straight guys, while the ones who are paralyzed by fear must be the gay
guys. None of that is true, of course, but if you don't know it's easy
to make assumptions.
All that DADT does is reinforce those
faulty assumptions. It needs to be ended immediately so that our
service people can see for themselves that gay people are no different
from straight people. They're just as likely to be brave, competent,
and capable as straight people. Equally, they're just as likely to
be screw-ups or weasels or dopers. In other words, they're just
people, and it's high time straight people realized that.
Saturday, 27 February 2010
1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010