A friend sent me a link to this rant bitching about the iPhone. My response (which I was going to send via StumbleUpon, but decided it was getting a wee bit wordy): Yeah, there's a reason that I'm not getting one for a while. First, I promised myself I'd wait until I paid off two credit cards. Second, the price *will* come down a good deal. And third, it's not just a new product, it's a new user interface paradigm - I understood it would take some time for refinement. But I still want one - I'm just holding out until it's everything I've come to expect from Apple.
Erica: June 2007 Archives
As a follow-up to my mini-rant about the DUI exception to the Constitution, it looks like the courts think there's a general "drug exception" to it, too (via Reason Hit & Run):
As I feared, the Court seems to be opening up a "drug exception" to the First Amendment, albeit limited (so far) to students in school. It's true that high school students do not have the same free speech rights as adults, but the Court has held that they do not "shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate." They have a right, for instance, to wear anti-war armbands. In that case, the Court held that student speech may be suppressed only if it will "materially and substantially disrupt the work and discipline of the school." A "mere desire to avoid the discomfort and unpleasantness that always accompany an unpopular viewpoint" or "an urgent wish to avoid the controversy which might result from the expression" is not enough to justify censorship. But fear of drugs apparently is.An American citizen is an American citizen is an American citizen. High school kids should not be denied rights simply because they're forced to be in a classroom all day, and further, talking about a subject, however controversial, is a right that should not be infringed upon.
...from the politically-correct everyone-is-right-unless they're successful and particularly if they're the United States bullshit. Check out this page from my online workbook for my Spanish class (click thumbnail to see larger version): What's it say? Glad you asked. It asks to identify the country's citizens who could make the following claims. (Possible answers in parenthesis after the questions, correct answers bolded.)
- We have earned the World Cup in soccer. (Americans, Japanese, Brazilians)
- We have lost much of our territory and a big part of our primitive culture. (English, Russians, Native Americans)
- We have crossed the border to the north to work in the United States (of America). (Mexicans, Canadians, Russians)
- We have discovered faraway lands, like the New World. (Aztecs, Spanish, Africans)
- We have created forms of government, like democracy. (Italians, Greeks, Germans)
- We have invented various explosives, like fireworks. (Chinese, Portuguese, French)
- We have dropped an atomic bomb on another place. (Japanese, Russians, Americans)
- We have been part of an empire. (Costa Ricans, Romans, Guatemalans)
- Native America
If you're looking for something to be pissed off about, look no further: The DUI Exception to the Constitution (DUI BLOG). I'm not an apologist for people who drive while legitimately intoxicated and impaired. My uncle died in a car accident involving astronomical blood alcohol levels, and several of my family members have had their licenses revoked and even gone to jail for drunk driving, with levels of intoxication that should justify removing them from operating heavy (and dangerous!) machinery (like cars) in public places (like roads). But I don't care what your crime is - Miranda rights are not optional. Access to legal counsel should not be optional. Probable cause is there for a reason. The right to a jury trial should be damned near sacrosanct. I don't drive drunk. I do sometimes go out and close a bar with friends, and limit myself to a drink or two early in the night so I can be well sure it's out of my system by the end. Based on the time of night I'm driving, I don't find it unlikely that I'll eventually be pulled over and checked. And I won't be cooperating with this legal farce; I won't submit to providing evidence that is both faulty and beyond question, I will demand to be informed of my rights, and I will demand presence of legal counsel. I'll do that not because I'll be drunk, but because I give a shit about our Constitution.
I am teaching eight hours per day. I am sick. My throat hurts. I am a couple days behind in my grading. All I want to do? Is not fix that. I want to climb into bed now. Not in two hours, after my students leave. Now.
A little over a year ago, a staff writer for UNO's twice-weekly newspaper (The Gateway) approached me to ask what I thought of some new federal funding for scientific research. My response, in the following clip:
"I am personally opposed to most government spending, particularly in the sciences," physics teaching assistant Erica Tesla said. "Government funding frequently comes with a lot of strings attached, many of which are inconvenient at best or crippling at worst. My opposition to government spending in the sciences is not meant to imply that I think the science should be a lower priority than other things-the problem is that spending implies control."Full article: Pessimism follows federal science initiative announcement. Looks like research is backing up my opinion: Reason Hit & Run makes a mention of some research saying private research is better at making breakthroughs. Given that we can't get protection for scientists who expose manipulation, distortion, or suppression of their research, is that really any surprise?