Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Why Was This So Unobvious?

I bought a used Toshiba Portege R500 for my wife a few months back, and it has worked very well.  It is also incredibly compact, so we use this for church to project sermon notes, song lyrics, and so on. 

I decided that it is a darn nuisance to keep unplugging all the USB connectors, the VGA port, external keyboard and mouse, etc. on Sunday morning, and ditto after church, so I ordered a used Toshiba Slimline docking station for it -- all of $35.  It docked just fine, with the only external device that did not seem to have a home on the docking station being the microphone and external speakers.  Since my wife almost never uses the microphone, it just means one connector to connect/reconnect each Sunday.

But how the heck do you undock it?  On my docking stations, there is one button or lever.  What seemed to be the right lever would not move without the horrible feeling that something was going to break.  I did a lot of hunting, and finally found the answer here.  There is a button that can be either in the locked or unlocked position, so that you can secure the notebook from being carried away -- and this button was in the locked position.  As soon as I unlocked it -- voila!

This is primarily in case someone else has the same problem, and has trouble finding the answer.

Another Mass Stabbing & Bomb Attack in China

State-run Chinese media say a terrorist attack on a railway station in western Xinjiang province has killed three people and wounded 79.
Police say the attackers slashed people with knives and set off a bomb apparently between the station exit and a bus stop in the capital of Urumqi.
Uighurs complain about the Chinese government's violent oppression.  No doubt.  But killing civilians is not a way to win friends and influence people, nor does it do anything to reduce violent oppression of Uighurs by the Chinese government.  If anything, it provides both more excuse, reason, and popular support for doing so.

Terrorism is a fundamentally stupid method of accomplishing your ends.  Attack those who are directly attacking you.  Attack the security forces of the Chinese government if they are attacking you.  Attacking civilians is what Gandhi's famous statement alludes to: "An eye for an eye will blind the world."

Not All Cultures Are Equally Valid

From April 30, 2014 NBC News:
Mothers marched Wednesday in Nigeria to protest government inaction more than two weeks after 200 school girls were kidnapped by Boko Haram, a terror group operating with near impunity in the region — and which has reportedly sold many of the girls into slavery or marriage for as little as $12....

The students are being sold for 2,000 naira — about $12 — to marry the fighters, Halite Aliyu of the Borno-Yobe People's Forum told The Associated Press in Lagos.
She said reports of mass weddings are coming from villagers in the Sambisa Forest, on Nigeria's border with Cameroon, where Boko Haram is known to have hideouts.
"The latest reports are that they have been taken across the borders, some to Cameroon and Chad," Aliyu said.
Pogu Bitrus, a community elder in Chibok, the town where the girls were abducted, told the BBC that some of the girls "have been married off to insurgents [in] a medieval kind of slavery."
"You go and capture women and then sell them off," he said.
Now you know why Boko Haram's name means "Western education is sinful."  I am waiting for some U.S. academic to explain why Boko Haram is really no different from the Republican Party here.

Pledge of Allegiance, "One Nation Under Allah": What Could Go Wrong?

From Fox News:
Tom Lopez, the principal at Rocky Mountain High School in Fort Collins, told Fox News he has received a number of telephone calls and emails from outraged parents – but he stands by his decision.
“These students love this country,” he said. “They were not being un-American in trying to do this. They believed they were accentuating the meaning of the words as spoken regularly in English.”
The school recites the Pledge of Allegiance once a week and on Monday a member of the Cultural Arms Club led the student body in the Arabic version of the pledge.
The club seeks to “destroy the barriers, embrace the cultures” that exist within the high school.
And to think a few years ago I considered Robert Ferrigno's thriller Prayers for the Assassin to be farfetched!

From The Comments: "It's always nice to see a company that doesn't discriminate against the mentally challenged when hiring."

A pocket pistol chambered in .223.  A very short barrel with .223 means that you have a bullet with no more energy than any number of small pistol calibers.  Most accurately, it is a flamethrower that also throws some lead.  Dumb.

Reading From Winston Churchill's The River War: How To Get Arrested in Britain

From the April 28, 2014 Telegraph, an account of why a candidate for public office was arrested for reading from Winston Churchill's book about the war in the Sudan, The River War (which is, by the way, a very interesting book based on his experiences in that war):
A candidate in the European elections has been arrested after making a speech quoting from a book by Winston Churchill about Islam.
Paul Weston, chairman of the far right Liberty GB party, was making the speech on the steps of Winchester Guildhall, Hampshire, on Saturday, when a member of the public complained to police and he was arrested.
He had been reading from Churchill's book The River War, written in 1899 while he was a British army officer in Sudan.
Mr Weston, who is standing as a candidate in the South East European elections on May 22, was detained after he failed to comply with a request by police to move on under the powers of a dispersal order made against him and he was arrested on suspicion of religious/racial harassment.
While Churchill was careful to emphasize that there were often Muslims of great character and decency, the quote that put Weston under arrest emphasized that Islam has some destructive properties that hold civilization back:
How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property – either as a child, a wife, or a concubine – must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Thousands become the brave and loyal soldiers of the faith: all know how to die but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled, the civilisation of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilisation of ancient Rome.

Tony Blair Speech Worth Reading

In a speech to Bloomberg in London on Wednesday, the former Labour prime minister claimed the west was reluctant to look unflinchingly at Islamic extremism because the world of politics is uncomfortable talking about religion.
He said: "For the last 40 to 50 years, there has been a steady stream of funding, proselytising, organising and promulgating coming out of the Middle East, pushing views of religion that are narrow minded and dangerous. Unfortunately we seem blind to the enormous global impact such teaching has had and is having.
"Within the Middle East itself, the result has been horrible, with people often facing a choice between authoritarian government that is at least religiously tolerant; and the risk that in throwing off the government they don't like, they end up with a religiously intolerant quasi-theocracy."
Insisting that the west had to take sides, he described Islamic extremism as "not about a competing view of how society or politics should be governed within a common space where you accept other views are equally valid. It is exclusivist in nature. The ultimate goal is not a society which someone else can change after winning an election. It is a society of a fixed polity, governed by religious doctrines that are not changeable but which are, of their essence, unchangeable."
The region's chaos was not a battle between Sunni or Shia, or primarily due to the lack of economic opportunity, but due to "a common struggle around the issue of the rightful place of religion, and in particular Islam, in politics".
Unfortunately, the left in Britain and America are so enamored of Islam because "enemy of my enemy is my friend" that they fail to recognize the hazard that Wahabbist and Iranian backed funding is doing in the West.  When I was young, pretty much any academic had at least some sympathy for Israel -- a Western-style democracy that tolerated difference of opinion - as opposed to the Muslim nations of the Middle East, which varied between monarchies and military dictatorships.  At best, the monarchies were slightly tolerant of dissent.

Today, academia is overwhelmingly on the side of the forces of dictatorship, religious intolerance, and "homophobia" that makes 1950s America seem downright tolerant -- and I suspect because of the amount of Saudi money that has been spent buying off the Judas goats that do much of the leading in the academic heard of independent thinkers.

May 3rd Enhanced Concealed Carry License Class in Boise

Just a reminder: my friend T. Allen Hoover teaches the enhanced concealed carry permit class (useful if you travel to Nevada, Washington State, or public college or universities in Idaho after July 1).  There is a class coming up on May 3.

Idaho & Mental Health Care

A long, pretty thoughtful article about the obstacles in rural Idaho to getting adequate mental health care.  Some of the innovations that are being used to work around the problem of very low densities are robotic:
In a clinic in Cottonwood, Idaho, a child and parent talk with psychiatrist William Terry. They may talk about bipolar disorder, attention-deficit disorder or abuse, discussing how well their medication is working. It's a typical conversation in almost every way but one: The kid and his parents are talking to a head on a high-definition screen hanging from a robot called the RP-Lite. The RP-Lite looks less like C-3PO and more like a coat rack with a face attached to the end.
Terry is 200 miles away, at a dual-screen terminal at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise. Using the joystick, he swings the robot's head and the video screen side to side. He can zoom in to observe a patient's tremors or tics.
"You can move the camera so that we can focus in on the people's face," Terry says. "If they're around the room, I can follow them in the room." It only takes seconds for the distance to fade away, and for it to feel almost like any in-person session.
There is some real effort underway to provide mental health care in rural Idaho, but the combination of insufficient funding and insufficient density is pretty daunting.

I am a little annoyed at the PC claim that mental illness seldom results in violent crime.  I suspect that if more people understood this connection, there would be more willingness of the legislature to spend the money needed.

Death Penalty As Mass Production: Something's A Bit Disturbing About This

From April 29, 2014 CNN:
(CNN) -- An Egyptian court has sentenced the leader of the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood and hundreds of supporters to death, state television said Monday.
Intensifying a crackdown on the Islamist movement ahead of elections next month, the same court also handed down a final capital punishment ruling for 37 others.
Charges in both cases, which were tried by the same judge, are related to violent riots in the central Egyptian city of Minya in August.
A police officer was killed during the violence, which followed a deadly crackdown by security forces on two Cairo sit-ins being held by supporters of former Islamist President Mohamed Morsy, who was ousted last July.
Mohammed Badie, the Brotherhood's leader, is among 683 supporters of Morsy whose death sentences are not final -- as the case has been referred to the nation's grand mufti, Egypt's highest religious authority, for review.
Is there anyone besides me that finds this sort of mass production death sentence a bit disturbing?

The Execution Did Not Go Well

From April 30, 2014 USA Today:
Clayton Lockett, 38, struggled violently, groaned and writhed after lethal drugs were administered by Oklahoma officials Tuesday night, according to eyewitness accounts. State Corrections Director Robert Patton halted the Lockett's execution, citing vein failure that may have prevented the deadly chemicals from reaching Lockett. He eventually died of a heart attack.
Witnesses could see Lockett struggle before state officials closed off curtains blocking their view.
Unnecessary suffering should be avoided, I agree.  But it sounds like he got off light compared to his victim:
Lockett, who was convicted of shooting 19-year-old Stephanie Neiman and watching two accomplices bury her alive in 1999,... 
Another person that was scheduled for execution is this charming number:
Warner's execution had been set for 8 p.m. Tuesday. The 46-year-old was convicted of raping and killing his roommate's 11-month-old daughter in 1997. He has maintained his innocence.
Well, of course.  Who would confess to a crime that horrible?

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Maybe Older Doesn't Mean Senile After All

On p. 13 of this North Carolina State University Engineering publication is an article about a recent study that discovered that older engineers (at least into their 40s) actually improved in skills at least into their 40s, and that "programmers 37 and older compared to programmers younger than 37 regarding technologies less than ten years" (such as iOS and Windows Phone 7) was actually superior.  For other technologies, there was no statistically significant difference between younger and older engineers.  Now, if only that mattered at hiring time....

A Really Thorough Take Down of Wikipedia

"Wikipedia: where truth dies online"
Another embarrassment for Wikipedia was the recent revelation that a hoax page had survived for five years and had won several awards. The ‘Bicholim conflict’ entry was a detailed but fictitious account of a war in Indian Goa that never took place. It was rated as one of Wikipedia’s top pages and received a quality award that only one per cent of all Wikipedia articles achieve.
That's a surprisingly easy hoax to do -- how many experts on this conflict can there be to correct it, if it never happened?  The temptation to write an article about the Republic of Vermont/State of Franklin war is very strong!

The article goes to explain one of the great hazards of Wikipedia with respect to the Amanda Knox trial, and in a way that could produce results quite dangerous to justice:
It was easy to prove bias in the case of the Kercher page and some of the controlling editors even identified themselves as contributors to Knox hate sites. They had recognised from the start that Wikipedia would be the first stop for many journalists new to the case. By controlling Wikipedia they could set the media agenda, shape public opinion and even influence court proceedings in Italy where there has now been one trial and two appeals. Italian jurors are encouraged to read widely and do their own research – the polar opposite of the UK system – and this makes trials vulnerable to interference from outside the court.

Plan WAY Ahead For Yellowstone

I have started to make plans for a trip to Yellowstone in mid to late May -- and discovered that I should have been making reservations last year.  The prices are outrageous and room availability is very limited.  I knew that Yellowstone is one of America's great attractions, but I was not prepared for how much of an attraction it is.

Another Fake Bias Crime

From the April 28, 2014 New Jersey Record:
Police at Montclair State University have charged a student with filing a false report after an investigation determined that his claim that he was assaulted outside a residence hall was untrue, the school said Monday.
Navjoat Aulakh, 18, of Carteret allegedly said three white men assaulted him and called him an “Islamic terrorist” outside Whitman Hall Thursday night. An alert was issued to students and staff.
But in an email on Friday, Police Chief Paul Cell said an investigation determined Aulakh’s story was “fabricated.”
- See more at:

Monday, April 28, 2014

Some News Articles Make You Wonder If You Are Reading News Through Some Sort of Time Wormhole

Like this April 23, 2014 Los Angeles Times article about a hotbed of male chauvinist pigs:
According to a January report from the American Philosophical Assn.'s Committee on the Status of Women, the philosophy department at the University of Colorado Boulder is a hotbed of "unacceptable sexual harassment, inappropriate sexualized behavior and divisive uncivil behavior."
It's hard to figure out exactly what the male philosophers at Boulder were actually doing in the way of "inappropriate sexualized behavior" because the committee, which seemed to have spent a full year (plus $25,000 of Boulder's money) on this witch hunt, is keeping that under wraps. The report that it issued to the public is merely a "summary" containing no specific incidences of misconduct, much less naming any names. The report did say that there was "excessive drinking" when professors and graduate students socialized together, and that "some male faculty have been observed ogling undergraduate women students.",0,1739927.story#ixzz30DEGzWiO
I suppose that we could require the male faculty to wear blindfolds, or the undergraduate women to wear burkhas. I actually do not find it implausible that the faculty at a far-left college are actually immoral pigs, hiding behind the whitewash of leftist respectability.  But I suspect that the author of the Los Angeles Times article has it more correct when she observes:
The year 1966 in China just called. They want their Red Guards back.,0,1739927.story#ixzz30DEqdPVv

Code Coverage Tools For MyEclipse (And Doubtless For Eclipse Too)

At one of the technical sessions of the Idaho Technical Council last week, one speaker asked how many were using code coverage tools.  I was startled to see no hands.  (It was a big room, so I might have missed some behind a column.)

If you are only peripherally involved in software development, I should explain what a code coverage tool does.  It provides a way to find out what percentage of the code in your application is actually being executed, and shows with appropriate colors whether particular parts of your classes are being partially executed, completely executed, or not executed at all.  This is especially useful, in my experience, when writing automated unit tests.  Running code coverage tools in conjunction with automated unit tests tells you how thorough your unit tests are.  If only 15% of the code in the classes that are supposed to be tested are actually being executed, you need to improve your unit tests to be more thorough -- or figure out if you have code that cannot actually be executed.

I confess to being a bit surprised at the lack of code coverage tool use.  At a previous employer, I made extensive use of Visual Studio's code coverage tools to see how thoroughly my unit tests were testing various classes.  I assumed that there were code coverage tools for Eclipse and MyEclipse, but for various reasons, simply have not put much time into finding them.  There is one called EclEmma that I have installed in MyEclipse, and I believe works with the open source Eclipse as well, that works pretty well.

Don't Search Google News With the Word "Stab"

You will be astonished at the enormous volume of such incidents -- and some of them will just shock you with the savagery that is out there.  This news report from April 24, 2014 Channel 2 Houston just boggles the mind:
A man is accused of stabbing a 3-year-old boy in the neck in the courtyard of an apartment complex in northeast Houston.
Jose Guillermo Molina, 21, is charged with injury to a child. Houston police say on April 22 the child was outside at an apartment complex in the 200 block of West Little York when Molina walked up to him and stabbed him in the back of his neck.
The boy's mother tells Local 2 she heard her son's screams and ran to help him. She says she begged Molina no to pull the knife out of her son's neck. She said he instead pulled the knife out and stabbed her son again, then threatened her. She says he then took the knife and walked across the street.
The picture of Molina suggests that someone received a $1000 gift card to a tattoo parlor, and the tattooing robot was placed in the "random" setting for the his face and neck.

Why Not Use Rubber Swords?

From April 28, 2014 WYFF channel 4:
Officers were called to Caldwell Academy around 10 p.m. Saturday after a student was stabbed near his stomach.
Police say the school was putting on the play "The Three Musketeers" when one student accidentally stabbed the other with a prop from the play.

Read more:

I'm sorry, but as much as I approve of having swords, I don't think that someone making a play should have real swords on set.  It would be like having a real gun on the set of a Western -- too much potential for someone to get hurt.

I Wonder Why This Detail About The Beating Did Not Make It Into National News Accounts?

A powerful column in the April 26, 2014 New York Times about racism that includes this curious detail:
The motorist, Steve Utash, was white. The mob, witnesses say, was made up of a dozen black men. A crowd of onlookers gathered while the mob beat Mr. Utash within an inch of his life. He was saved by Deborah Hughes, a black woman and a retired nurse who carries a .38. After attending to the child, who was not critically injured, Ms. Hughes lay across the body of Mr. Utash and promised herself that she would put a bullet in the next person to strike him.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Progress: Virginia's 1782 Act Allowing Masters To Free Slaves

Up to this point, the law required legislative action for a master to free a slave.  From Hening, Laws of Virginia 11:39:

Let me emphasize that if a master ended up in serious debt, even decades later, Virginia courts would sometimes re-enslave these freed slaves to cover those debts -- rather like what happens today if you dispose of property shortly before filing for bankruptcy.

Progress, although not perfection.

UPDATE: And the 1783 act which dealt with a situation of great dishonesty.  It was possible to hire a free man as a substitute for militia service during the Revolution, and a few masters had misrepresented slaves provided as substitutes to be free men.  But after the war was over (and the misery and potential for loss of life), "the former owners have attempted again to force them to return to a state of servitude, contrary to the principles of justice, and to their own solemn promise."

From Hening's Laws of Virginia 11:308.

211.8 Pounds


Blood pressure this morning 114/74.  My pulse is still 81, which is a bit high for someone in my condition, so the beta blockers and calcium channel blocker are still part of my medications.

Friday, April 25, 2014

I Wish That I Could Say That This Is Probably Politically Motivated...

Eric Holder's Department of Justice is, to be blunt, a little suspect these days (and I am being nice).  But if you tell me that someone's campaign received improper contributions based on an existing conviction, I do not find it implausible that the politician might be dirty, too.  From April 25, 2014 Fox News:
During that race, Grimm has acknowledged receiving $250,000 to $300,000 in contributions from followers of an Israeli rabbi, Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto. Some members of Pinto's congregation subsequently said they made tens of thousands of dollars in illegal contributions, including gifts passed through straw donors.

Grimm has denied knowledge of any improprieties, and the FBI hasn't accused him of any wrongdoing. The Israeli businessman who had served as Grimm's liaison to Pinto's followers, Ofer Biton, pleaded guilty in August to an immigration fraud charge.

Three days after that guilty plea, the FBI filed a sealed criminal complaint accusing a Houston woman who had been romantically involved with Grimm of using straw donors to make illegal campaign contributions.
The same article mentions the polite way that Rep. Grimm responds to press inquiries:
Grimm made headlines in January after confronting a New York City cable news station reporter who tried to question him about a long-running FBI investigation into campaign finance on a balcony in the Capitol.
After reporter Michael Scotto finished his report, Grimm stormed back, leaned into him and said, "Let me be clear to you. If you ever do that to me again, I'll throw you off this (expletive) balcony."
 I mean, Rep. Grimm does represent New York, so I can't claim to be surprised.  Perhaps I should be surprised that he merely threatened him, instead of having guys named Louie, Shorty, and Vinnie deal with the reporter.

Copying In Object-Oriented Languages: Be Careful What You Ask For

My boss brought to my attention that one part of the application showed 20 movement records for a particular offender -- but when we brought up the list, it showed 20 copies of the same movement record.  The Informix SPL being called returned 20 rows, all different.

On investigation, it turned out that the code was doing something like:

CNoteVO cnoteVO = some trash that filled it in
ArrayList resultList = new ArrayList();
and then for every row of data returned by the SPL:


Of course, because cnoteVO was the same object each time, the resultList.add call was just storing a pointer to the same cnoteVO object each time, and at the end of processing those 20 rows, we now had twenty pointers to the same cnoteVO -- which meant that whatever was stored in cnoteVO most recently was duplicated 20 times.

The solution was to write a clone() method -- but of course, nothing is ever that simple, because CNoteVO is a superclass, and you can't really easily write a clone() method that will handle all the subclasses.  (There is a way, with reflection, but I wanted to make sure that I understand this perfectly.)  Instead, I defined clone() in CNoteVO as an abstract class, and defined a concrete clone() method in each of the subclasses.  Now:

   cnoteVO = loadData();
   CNoteVO curRow = cnoteVO.clone();

Now every row is a distinct and different object, and I get 20 rows that are all different.

It has been many years since I ran into an issue like this; it is the only thing that helps me keep my sanity at work.

UPDATE: Of course, this isn't specific to OOPs.  I have seen this mistake made (and probably made it myself) in C, where the temptation is strong to reuse a malloced block, and then store the pointer to that block instead of doing another malloc.

How Did That Happen?

I went into the Chevrolet dealer and spent less than $7.  I needed the right windshield wiper blade for the Corvette -- and I had it paid for and installed in about five minutes.

Americans Expressing Their Confidence in the Future of Civil Society

From April 25, 2014 USA Today:
WASHINGTON — A record surge in recent firearms production and transactions have swamped the federal government's automated registration system for select weapons, including machine guns.
In a notice earlier this month to the firearms industry, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said it was temporarily suspending parts of its computerized system to shore up capacity in part to process the required registration and transfer of National Firearms Act covered weapons, which also include silencers, short-barreled shotguns, short-barreled rifles and some explosive devices.
Between 2005 and 2013, firearms act-related applications "skyrocketed by more than 380%'' to nearly 200,000, according to the April 16 memo issued by ATF Deputy Assistant Director Marvin Richardson. The surge has contributed to a backlog of more than 70,000 applications.
If this were a time of rapidly rising violent crime rates, I could understand people buying guns at astonishing rates.  If burglars were showing up in vans to commit their crimes, I could understand the machine gun purchasing going through the roof.  But under conditions like this, I think we are seeing a complete lack of confidence that this disaster that is our government can be turned around.  Elected Republicans are increasingly impossible to distinguish from Democrats.

Remember That Mass Stabbing In Pennsylvania A Few Weeks Back?

A bit more detail on where class warfare rhetoric leads you, from April 25, 2014 NBC News:
After the April 9 rampage that left 20 students and a security guard wounded, police armed with a warrant searched Hribal's locker at Franklin Regional Senior High School and found a sneering note dated April 6.
"I can't wait to see the priceless and helpless looks on the faces of the students of one of the 'best schools in Pennsylvania' realize their precious lives are going to be taken by the only one among them that isn't a plebian," the note read, according to the police.
I am pretty sure that he meant "that isn't a patrician."  

I grew up one of the poor kids in a very wealthy high school, and while I sometimes was envious, I never hated the kids from middle class and above homes.  But I also grew up in an era when politicians were not so nakedly playing the class warfare card to get and hold public office.

Why Fences Matter

Manuel Garcia-Rojas, 28, of Richmond, pleaded guilty to racketeering and attempted robbery in U.S. District Court. He faces up to 20 years in prison on each count when he is sentenced July 31. Three charges were dropped as part of a plea agreement....
According to prosecutors, Garcia-Rojas was a runner for the Richmond cell of a fake ID enterprise based in Mexico that also had operations in Arkansas, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Ohio and Rhode Island. A runner’s job was to solicit illegal immigrants as customers for phony documents, including Social Security cards and green cards. The high-quality, bogus documents typically sold for $120 to $250 a set.
Punishing employers severely for knowingly hiring illegal aliens would be a good step, but there are rings making "high-quality, bogus documents" then we need to actually have a border.

You Wonder Why She Turned Down The Invitation

My first guess is that he had already given her reasons to worry about how the date was going to go.  From April 25, 2014 San Francisco Chronicle:
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A 16-year-old girl was stabbed to death inside a Connecticut high school Friday, and police took a teenage boy into custody and are investigating whether the attack stemmed from her turning down an invitation to be his prom date.

This May Disturb You: "Should It Be Illegal in the U.S. to Burn Aborted Fetuses for Electricity?"

PJMedia has an article about burning aborted fetuses to make electricity:
The British Columbia Health Ministry has admitted that the remains of babies destroyed by abortion in B.C. facilities are ending up in a waste-to-power facility in the United States, providing electricity for residents of Oregon.
The province’s Health Ministry said in an email to the B.C. Catholic that “biomedical waste” shipped to the U.S. to be incinerated includes “human tissue, such as surgically removed cancerous tissue, amputated limbs, and fetal tissue.”
One of the commenters points out that this doesn't make any sense: cremation of mammalian bodies is a net power loss.  It takes far more energy to cremate than you will ever get out.  The purpose of cremation of "human tissue" is to dispose of potentially infectious body parts, and other items that we really do not know what to do with -- and in the case of the euphemistic "fetal tissue," which troubles us as a society.  The core issue here that is causing squeamishness by the British Columbia Health Ministry is that almost everyone except the most extreme pro-abortion activists knows that there is something wrong with a system that produces such large quantities of "fetal tissue."

In order:

1. Failure to adequately supervise teenagers so that they don't get pregnant (because so many teenagers are just as good at contraception as they are at doing homework or driving).

2. Failure of teenagers and adults to adequately use contraception.

3. Failure to protect teenagers from widespread forcible rape and forms of emotional manipulation that might as well be the same thing.

4. Failure of mothers and fathers to recognize that your mistakes, carelessness, drunkenness, whatever, have consequences.

5. Failure to recognize that your "mistake" may be an opportunity for a childless couple to raise your "mistake," to their enormous joy and, eventually, to the joy of your "mistake."

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

China On Its Way To Becoming The Largest Christian Nation

From the April 19, 2014 Telegraph, an interesting article that confirms what I have been reading elsewhere: while Christianity is collapsing in the West (and in the U.S.), it is growing rapidly in China:
China's Protestant community, which had just one million members in 1949, has already overtaken those of countries more commonly associated with an evangelical boom. In 2010 there were more than 58 million Protestants in China compared to 40 million in Brazil and 36 million in South Africa, according to the Pew Research Centre's Forum on Religion and Public Life.
Prof Yang, a leading expert on religion in China, believes that number will swell to around 160 million by 2025. That would likely put China ahead even of the United States, which had around 159 million Protestants in 2010 but whose congregations are in decline.
By 2030, China's total Christian population, including Catholics, would exceed 247 million, placing it above Mexico, Brazil and the United States as the largest Christian congregation in the world, he predicted.
"Mao thought he could eliminate religion. He thought he had accomplished this," Prof Yang said. "It's ironic – they didn't. They actually failed completely."

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Collapse of the American Middle Class

The April 23, 2014 New York Times has an article about how the American middle class, which used to be clearly the most well off on Earth, is now falling behind many other industrialized countries.  Along with the predictable explanations, there is one segment that I do not doubt at all:
Three broad factors appear to be driving much of the weak income performance in the United States. First, educational attainment in the United States has risen far more slowly than in much of the industrialized world over the last three decades, making it harder for the American economy to maintain its share of highly skilled, well-paying jobs.
Americans between the ages of 55 and 65 have literacy, numeracy and technology skills that are above average relative to 55- to 65-year-olds in rest of the industrialized world, according to a recent study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, an international group. Younger Americans, though, are not keeping pace: Those between 16 and 24 rank near the bottom among rich countries, well behind their counterparts in Canada, Australia, Japan and Scandinavia and close to those in Italy and Spain.
Some of this difference may be that the rest of the world has caught up and passed us.  I compare the education that I received in the 1960s and 1970s, and what seems to be the education that many of my students have received in the last decade or so, and I am frankly saddened.

I suspect more important than the educational system inputs are the family structure inputs.  When I was growing up in Santa Monica (a much more working class community than today), kids from divorced homes were pretty exceptional.  Divorce was somewhat shameful.  There were parents with serious alcohol problems, I am sure, but that was also somewhat shameful.  The serious substance abuse problems that are now pretty much the norm among adults would have been unimaginable, at least in a middle class community.

The Unselfie

Over at the Unknown Soldiers blog, Tom Sileo reminds us that for all the self-absorbed narcissists whose highest aspiration is taking "selfies" (pictures of themselves to put up on the Internet), there are a lot of men and women out there still making the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of a nation that seems to have stopped paying attention.

The April 22, 2014 Detroit News reports on the rapidly shrinking officer corps of the U.S. military:
Fort Bragg, N.C.— After the 9/11 attacks, tens of thousands of young men and women joined the military, heading for the rugged mountains of Afghanistan and dusty deserts of Iraq.

Many of them now are officers in the Army with multiple combat deployments under their belts. But as the wars wind down and Pentagon budgets shrink, a lot of them are being told they have to leave.

It’s painful and frustrating. In quiet conversations at Fort Bragg in North Carolina and Fort Eustis in Virginia, captains talk about their new worries after 15-month deployments in which they battled insurgents and saw roadside bombs kill and maim their comrades. They nervously wait as their fates rest in the hands of evaluation boards that may spend only a few minutes reading through service records before making decisions that could end careers.

From The Detroit News:
If we really don't need men and women with this sort of selflessness and patriotism, that's one thing.  But this is still a very dangerous world, and I would rather see people with this sense of duty on payroll, training and preparing for what is likely to be a confrontation with some pretty nasty enemies.  These weren't people who joined a peacetime military because it was the best job available, and how dangerous could it be?  These were men and women who joined a military engaged in an active war against the most barbarous of enemies.

Ruminations on Evil and Choice

From my wife's blog:
Note: As Easter approaches, I am going to spend some time exploring why evil is allowed in our world. How did we go from the Garden of Eden to the Garden of Gethsemane?

“Why Didn’t God Intervene in the Holocaust?” This question initiated my spiritual search as a young person. Upon watching a film about the Holocaust in the 8th grade, I was stunned that something like this had ever happened. I knew that horrible things happen; I lived in LA next door to an LA cop, whose children loved to show me black and white photographs of crime scenes. It was the time of the Zodiac killer and Charles Manson. Clearly bad people existed and did terrible things to good people.

But watching that film set the bar higher for what man was capable of in our world. I will never forget the photographs of the heads in buckets, the bodies laid out like grotesque sardines upon the ground and the skulls staring from amongst the ashes in the crematoria. I became an atheist. No god/God in my mind could possibly exist if such evil was allowed to happen. Done.
Or so I thought. I felt for a time quite superior in choosing such a stand: hideous images and a good God? No way. And yet…when I realized that most of the Nazi perpetrators literally got away with murder, I faced another choice: if man could commit such evil and avoid the courts of human justice, then how can justice as a concept even exist? If no afterlife exists and no presiding Justice exists, then evil wins. Pure and simple. That was unacceptable.

Another Depressing Report From Schwab

"What Does Disinflation Mean for Bond Investors?"

It appears that investing in stocks -- and probably stocks that pay a reasonably consistent dividend -- is the only hope for retiring before I get really old.  If I could teach full-time, it would be worth considering, but I might as well start hiring leprechauns to do my lawn maintenance.

Has Ebola Spread To Italy?

I am seeing pretty worrisome reports.  The only English language report is from an source that I can't really tell if they are particularly credible.  There are a number of Italian language reports that seem to be saying that Ebola may have arrived in Pisa with African refugees, but again, these don't seem like spectacularly credible news sources.

This is worth keeping an eye on.  If this manages to spread into a country with airports, it could be quite dangerous indeed.

Monday, April 21, 2014

U.S. Postal Service: They Don't Seem To Know What The IRS Is

My federal tax return was addressed to:

Internal Revenue Service
P.O. Box 7704
Fresno, CA 94120-7704 

The correct address is:

Internal Revenue Service
P.O. Box 7704
San Francisco, CA 94120-7704 

The post office bounced it back with a note indicating that they did not know who the IRS is.  The zip code (which is theoretically used for routing mail) is right; so is the P.O. Box.  And I could have sworn that IRS probably gets more than a few dozens pieces of mail this time of year.  Or perhaps there are fewer of us paying taxes than I guessed.

Pre-Existing Conditions: The Case For The Unaffordable Care Act

John Lott points out that one of the strongest arguments for the Unaffordable Care Act -- people with pre-existing conditions who could not afford (or in some cases, even buy) health insurance, turned out to be greatly exaggerated.  At its height, this program covered 115,000 people with pre-existing conditions -- and then, even with premiums cut so low that they actually paid less than those without pre-existing conditions.  As Dr. Lott points out:
Still the issue is question is if you want to help out 115,000 people, why not provide those individuals with a subsidy rather than changing health insurance for everyone?
Think about it.  Even a subsidy of  $20,000 a year per person for 115,000 people would only cost $2.3 billion per year, and not have screwed up the rest of the health care system.

UPDATE: A reader indicates that the 115,000 people with pre-existing conditions is grossly too low.  He (like probably many others in that situation) found full-time employment specifically to make sure that he would have health insurance.

The pre-existing condition problem is definitely one of the difficulties with the system before the Unaffordable Care Act.  I won't claim that this was the result of a free market insurance system.  (There are many things to call the old system, but "free market" is not one of them.)  Nonetheless, insurers do have a history of refusing to renew what they decide are high risk insureds.  Short of the government requiring renewal of policies regardless of loss record (which is definitely not free market), what to do?  Any contract built around a free market with a fixed policy duration has to either allow the insured to not renew, or allow the insurer not to renew.  Both are serious concerns.

I have sometimes wondered about writing a science fiction story set in an alternative universe where people without health insurance become debt slaves to the doctors and hospitals that save their lives.  How many years of labor would it take to pay off an aortic valve transplant, or a double bypass, or cancer treatment?  That's a scary world.  Some people might start leaving instructions that say, "I don't want to spend the last fifteen years of my life mopping floors in a hospital.  Let me die."  And administrators would work studiously to see that such instructions were found and destroyed -- because they need the laborers. Click-N-Ship: Now I Know Where The Team Went!

I mentioned Saturday that Click-N-Ship software, while a little clumsy in places, at least worked, is no longer operable -- and for huge numbers of people.  I could not get through to a live person after an hour wait, and they are not responding to my email requests for support.  My guess is that the team responsible for had to find something new to destroy.

I am reduced to sending my wife to the post office tomorrow to ship these orders out over the counter, which costs more, and is less convenient.  I wonder if Click-N-Ship will ever work again?

Unfortunately, the alternatives are completely impractical.  UPS ground shipping to France, instead of $53.10 for Click-N-Ship, or about $60 at the post office counter, is more than $200.

And don't kid yourself that is fixed.  I had originally signed up there to find out what the Idaho health insurance exchange would charge me for coverage if I quit my day job.  I never actually completed the application process, but I now get reminders from the federal government that it isn't too late to sign up!  But when I click the link to go back and at least clarify that I am not looking for coverage -- 404 errors, each and every time.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Virginia's 1778 Slave Importation Ban

A lot of people don't realize that most of the states that allowed slavery banned further imports during the Revolution, or immediately thereafter.  Here is Virginia's 1778 ban from Hening's Laws of Virginia, 9:471:

There is an exemption for immigrants bringing their slaves with them to Virginia, but notice that not only are there fines for commercial importers and their customers -- but also freedom for the slaves themselves.

Interesting Form of Segregation in Early America

From Hening's Laws of Virginia 9:348:

Curious: religious segregation of regiments.

Better Late Than Never

I found this item at Hening's Statutes of Virginia 9:320-1 quite moving:

He knew he was dying.  He gave his slave Rachel and her daughter their freedom, and left part of his estate to build them a house.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Murder is Really Rare in Idaho...

But when we have them, they are...unique.  From April 10, 2014 KBOI:
The Boise County Sheriff's Office says Michael Dauber of Nampa was arrested in March for murdering Steven Kalogerakos of Idaho City. Officials had originally believed Kalogerakos went missing.

According to court documents, Dauber shot and killed Kalogerakos on or near December 27, 2007 with a pistol. But in Boise County Court on Thursday morning, prosecutors said Kalogerakos's body was dismembered....

"Mr. Dauber, in this case, as an aggravated factor also admitted to dismembering the body of Steven Kalogerakos with an ax and a bone saw," Gee said. "The forensic evidence in this case supports that admission. The fact that he then took those body parts, put them in a plastic bag in a rough sack and dumped them in a shallow grave."
The local paper, the Idaho World, reports that Dauber is the son of a Chicago mob boss. Click-N-Ship Bites The Dust

I have relied (and that might the operative word) on the postal service's click-n-ship service for shipping packages for ScopeRoller for some years now.  It isn't just that it is cheaper than UPS or FedEx; it was (until last night), considerably easier.  There was a single fixed price, depending on whether the flat rate box was going to the U.S., Canada, Europe, or Down Under.

Last night, I tried to use it to ship an order to France.  I told it to bill my PayPal account; it was declined.  What?  There's plenty of money there.  So then I tried a credit card.  Declined.  Then I switched to several different browsers, including Internet Explorer 8.  No different.

Then I searched a bit -- and found that lots of USPS customers are riproaring upset about this.  Apparently, to counteract various phishing schemes, USPS became a lot more demanding about matching up billing addresses to PayPal and credit card information -- but I checked.  I don't see any differences that could explain this.  I spent an hour on hold for USPS technical support, and never managed to talk to a person.  This is apparently a new problem that USPS has created, so I am not surprised that any given time there are problems thousands of upset customers online.

I could just go down to the post office and mail this -- I think -- but click-n-ship produces the needed customs documents, as well as being almost $8 cheaper than doing it at a retail location.  And they really need to get this fixed!


Friday, April 18, 2014

Impressive Technology. So Were The Telescreens in 1984

From a discussion of Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department surveillance program:
McNutt and his Ohio-based company, Persistent Surveillance Systems, persuaded the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to use his surveillance technology to monitor Compton’s streets from the air and track suspects from the moment the snatching occurred.
The system, known as wide-area surveillance, is something of a time machine – the entire city is filmed and recorded in real time. Imagine Google Earth with a rewind button and the ability to play back the movement of cars and people as they scurry about the city.
“We literally watched all of Compton during the time that we were flying, so we could zoom in anywhere within the city of Compton and follow cars and see people,” McNutt said. “Our goal was to basically jump to where reported crimes occurred and see what information we could generate that would help investigators solve the crimes.”         

Does the First Name Tell Us Anything? Probably A Coincidence

From April 18, 2014 NBC News:
A Missouri man accused of turning roadways in Kansas City and its suburbs into a shooting gallery faces 18 felony charges in twelve separate incidents since early March, officials said Friday.
Authorities had been tracking suspect Mohammed Whitaker, 27, at his Grandview home, south of Kansas City, after receiving tips from the public.[emphasis added]
The similarity to another set of random rifle attacks by another Mohammed is, I am sure, entirely coincidental.

Terrifying Headline; Less Terrifying Body

Oklahoma gun range to offer bullets and booze
Swanson says his facility’s staff will be careful not to allow drinkers onto the venue’s gun range. As CNN reports, “As soon as you walk into his range, staff will scan an ID card, to make sure you're not drinking and shooting. If you decide to head over to the range cafe after shooting and order a drink, the ID is then scanned again and red-flagged so you're then locked out of all the ranges for the rest of that day, both as a shooter and a spectator.”

212.8 Pounds This Morning

Slow progress, but still nice.

Does Conscientious Objection Only Work For Members of the Religion of Peace?

Roughly 25 Muslim drivers dispatched to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport are refusing to drive cabs adorned with advertising for the region’s upcoming Gay Games, citing religious reasons.
Two of the three companies operating at Ohio's largest airport were informed by the drivers — one-third of the airport’s total fleet — last week that they will no longer participate in the airport’s dedicated taxicab program. The companies, Ace and Yellow Taxi Cab, were told by the drivers that their decision was based on religious reasons, airport spokeswoman Jacqueline Mayo told
Imagine if Christian cab drivers had made such a refusal.  Would they still have jobs?  I rather doubt it.

Amistad: See It

I had intended to go see this when it came out, but never quite got around to it.  I watched it on Netflix Tuesday night.  It is powerful -- in some respects, more affecting than Twelve Years a Slave.  There are certain liberties taken with respect to oversimplifying involvement of some of the lawyers, but the essence of the film is pretty solid -- and horrifying.  The sequence at trial where Cinque describes the trans-Atlantic journey is well-attested and I may well use it in an upcoming lecture about the slave trade for my Western Civ class.  The sequence at the U.S. Supreme Court -- where a strong majority of the justices were slave owners, and overwhelmingly took the side of the Amistad's cargo -- matches the decision The U.S. v. The Amistad (1841)..

Militarization of Police

John Fund has a piece in National Review Online about the militarization of police, not just this incident in Nevada, but far more generally:
Take the case of Kenneth Wright of Stockton, Calif., who was “visited” by a SWAT team from the U.S. Department of Education in June 2011. Agents battered down the door of his home at 6 a.m., dragged him outside in his boxer shorts, and handcuffed him as they put his three children (ages 3, 7, and 11) in a police car for two hours while they searched his home. The raid was allegedly intended to uncover information on Wright’s estranged wife, Michelle, who hadn’t been living with him and was suspected of college financial-aid fraud.
The year before the raid on Wright, a SWAT team from the Food and Drug Administration raided the farm of Dan Allgyer of Lancaster, Pa. His crime was shipping unpasteurized milk across state lines to a cooperative of young women with children in Washington, D.C., called Grass Fed on the Hill. Raw milk can be sold in Pennsylvania, but it is illegal to transport it across state lines. The raid forced Allgyer to close down his business.
There are legitimate needs for SWAT teams.   But this widespread creation of SWAT teams in agencies that are not primarily in the business of dealing with violent criminals is crazy.  There is something to be said for specialization of labor.  If a federal agency has a situation where they are genuinely concerned that serving a warrant might involve violence, call the FBI.  College financial-aid fraud?  Please.

This report from channel 10 Stockton indicates that it was not a SWAT team, although the description of 15 armed officers breaking down Wright's front door at 6:00 AM sure might make you think that was the case.  According to the article, Wright had no criminal record.

Which Shocks Me More? The Accusations About Bryan Singer? Or This?

Homosassa, Florida:  Sheriff's deputies in northern Florida say a man suffocated his young, crying son so he could play video games....
According to police, Wygant said the boy was crying uncontrollably, preventing him from playing his Xbox games. He covered the boy's nose and mouth for three to four minutes until the boy became lethargic, then placed him in a playpen and covered him with bedding.
Deputies say Wygant didn't check on Daymeon for five hours.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Somehow, This Isn't The Name I Would Have Picked For A Company

The company advertising positions is Cyanogen.  Those who were paying attention in chemistry class know that cyanogen is the name for the gas derived from heating various cyanide compounds.  And yes, it is really bad for you.

Sadly, He's Right

A wealthy hotel executive and Democratic fundraiser who supported Hilary Clinton for president pleaded guilty Thursday to charges he secretly funneled more than $180,000 in illegal campaign contributions to three unnamed candidates and coached someone to lie about it.
An informant caught Sant Singh Chatwal on tape in 2010 explaining that he believed his illegal fundraising bought him access to people in power.
Without the contributions "nobody will even talk to you," Chatwal said. "That's the only way to buy them, get into the system."

Making Divorce Harder

Megan McArdle has an essay about the difference between low-conflict divorces and high-conflict divorces:
My brief tour through the divorce literature indicated that ending a high-conflict marriage is better for everyone, including the kids -- despite the financial and emotional drawbacks, it really is better to have two homes, rather than one where Mom and Dad are engaged in a bitter civil war.
On the other hand, the evidence on ending low-conflict marriages -- one in which maybe one party, or both, doesn’t feel perfectly fulfilled, but they get along OK -- wasn’t so happy. Children of low-conflict marriages whose parents divorce have more difficulty adjusting than the kids of high-conflict marriages. It’s thought that the divorce comes as a shock to these kids; a relationship that seemed fine to them suddenly dissolves, which changes their ability to trust the world and other people.
These divorces aren’t necessarily so great for the adults, either. Divorce tends to be a financial disaster for all but the very rich, because it’s more expensive to support two households than one. And people who exit marriages don’t necessarily find this makes them happier. We tend to think that marriages are good, and then they go bad, and then you divorce and get happy again, but unhappiness can often be a temporary condition that later improves.
My wife and I just celebrated our 34th anniversary.  We feel like the last trees in a forest full of stumps.  All around us, we can see marriages that failed.  For every marriage where you can understand the divorce (repeated infidelity, violence against spouse or children, sexual abuse of the children, apparently uncontrollable substance abuse), we have seen a lot more marriages collapse that just appall us.  The ones where there are kids are even more infuriating.  There is a lot of damage that divorce does to kids.

Even when there are good reasons for the divorce, it still leads to years of confusion and heartache for the kids.  Worse, the second, third, and fourth marriages often end in divorce as well, because the underlying causes of the first divorce were not fixed.

Lots of divorces start out with someone (usually the wife) who is depressed.  A marriage with two selfish people will only survive by spending truly astounding amounts of money, every month.  Because women used to be "trained" by our culture to be subservient -- and more effectively than men were trained to be caring and concerned about their wives -- when no-fault divorce spread across the land, women were the ones who had the most reason to do so.  Today, it seems like the selfishness idiocy is spread a lot more evenly than it used to be, and not surprisingly, marriage is in serious trouble.

It may be too late to fix marriage.  It was largely a product of a Christian-dominated culture, one where selfishness was regarded as at least as a sign of immaturity.  In a culture where Christianity is only a faint echo, it is probably too late.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Only Thing Entertaining About Spam Is Amusing Juxtapositions

12:34 pm {Spam?} The most Successful Drug And-Alcohol treat...
12:27 pm {Spam?} Have fun at your job: Become a Bartender

Imagine If Cliven Bundy's Trespassing Cattle Were Illegal Aliens

A very clever column by Kevin D. Williamson at National Review Online:
 At the same time, the federal government’s fundamental responsibility, which is defending the physical security of the country, is handled with remarkable nonchalance: Millions upon millions upon millions of people have crossed our borders illegally and continue to reside within them. Cliven Bundy’s cattle are treated as trespassers, and federal agents have been dispatched to rectify that trespass; at the same time, millions of illegal aliens present within our borders are treated as an inevitability that must be accommodated. In practice, our national borders are a joke, but the borders of that arid haven upon which ambles the merry Mojave desert tortoise are sacrosanct.

Another Mass Stabbing in Canada

From April 16, 2014 Calgary Herald:
REGINA - An average day in a downtown Regina shopping centre turned terrifying Tuesday when a young man in a red bandana started randomly stabbing people near him.
Witnesses said the attack at the Cornwall Centre was sudden and surprising.
"I heard people screaming, like, in chaos, and then there was a bunch of people running around all over," witness Summer Pascal told radio station CJME.
Four people were hurt; three were taken to hospital and one was treated and released at the scene. Their conditions weren't immediately known.
No deaths, apparently.  It sounds like the stabber wasn't terribly motivated.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

It Must Be Out There SOMEWHERE: Hening's Laws of Virginia, Vol. 3

I have managed to find PDFs of Hening's Laws of Virginia, volumes 1-2, 4-13.  There is a marvelous HTML version of all of Hening's Laws of Virginia out there, and it is really useful -- but primarily because of the nature of the project that I am doing (and yes, it is gun-related), I really need the original images, not someone's HTML-ized version of the text for volume 3.

I have been surprised at how difficult it is to actually find the various volumes in one place, and with one search string.  The publication date is going to be 1819 to 1823 or so.

UPDATE: Found it!

Brain Structure Changes & Casual Marijuana Use

Reported by April 15, 2014 Fox News:
For the first time ever, researchers at Northwestern University have analyzed the relationship between casual use of marijuana and brain changes – and found that young adults who used cannabis just once or twice a week showed significant abnormalities in two important brain structures....
Utilizing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the researchers analyzed the participants’ brains, focusing on the nucleus accumbens (NAC) and the amygdala – two key brain regions responsible for processing emotions, making decisions and motivation.  They looked at these brain structures in three different ways, measuring their density, volume and shape.
According to Breiter, all three were abnormal in the casual marijuana users.
It has long been a stereotype of potheads that they are not terribly motivated:
Because these brain regions are central for motivation, the findings from Northwestern help support the well-known theory that marijuana use leads to a condition called amotivation. Also called amotivational syndrome, this psychological condition causes people to become less oriented towards their goals and purposes in life, as well as seem less focused in general.
I am sure that this will all end well.

The List Is Getting Longer

It used to be that the triumvirate of the let was "racism, sexism, and classism."  The list is getting longer:
Be aware of racism, classism, sexism, heterosexism, cissexism, ableism, and other issues of privilege and oppression.

Read more: Inside Higher Ed 
What in the heck is "cissexism"?

Another part of the proposed (but thankfully, not implemented) "trigger" policy at Oberlin College includes this amazing statement:
Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart is a triumph of literature that everyone in the world should read. However, it may trigger readers who have experienced racism, colonialism, religious persecution, violence, suicide, and more.
Read more: Inside Higher Ed  
Unless you have a parasite, I find it most unlikely that anyone at Oberlin College today has experienced "colonialism."

UPDATE: I am so glad that I have such educated readers to explain things like "cissexism" to me:
Trans-gender refers to people who do not identify with their bodies -- an apparent male who identifies as female, for example.
The problem is that the opposite phenomenon -- the person who identifies with the outward appearance of his body -- never had a word, which made it unjustifiably "normal". Thus, the word cis-gender.
You're cis-gender, Clayton. We have to fight against you, because you are privileged and you oppress others.