Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Are software makers becoming more considerate to left handed people?

No.  If they were, they would have included left handed options from the get-go.  Hey, who cares about 10-15% of the users anyway?



They seem to be responding to user concerns, but only after complaints come in.

Here's one about a right handed person reporting his use of a mouse with the left hand.  He switched hands due to a repetitive motion injury.


The hardest part of raising awareness is...

The hardest part of raising awareness about right hand privilege is not getting people's attention.

The hardest part of raising awareness is not sounding like a crank.  It would be easy to mistake this as a claim of "my pain is greater than yours," which others disingenuously try to do.

The issue here is not left handed adults.  We can take care of ourselves.

The issue is left handed children, people who can't take care of nor defend themselves.

The worst thing about censorship is **********

The UK government is trying to institute a "policy" of blocking internet content that would make the Chinese dictatorship proud.  As with "filtering software" of the 1990s, the UK government's censorship is not about blocking "obscenity", it is about blocking content that differs from the governing party's religious and political views.  Allowing sites that promote hate while censoring sites that promote human rights is not the act of a free and democratic state, it is the act of a group of thugs.

Monday, 30 December 2013

Adult annoyances: Doctors

Have you ever gone to a doctor's office and been told you need an injection?  Which side do they stand on?  Which arm do they reach for?  Without exception, they assume everyone is right handed and go for the patient's left arm.  Even left handed doctors end up doing it.

I've had times where I was told I needed a shot, then rolled up my right sleeve.

And then the idiot doctor says, "Roll up your sleeve," completely oblivious to the extended right arm.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Make only one resolution: Don't make resolutions

New Year's resolutions are pointless.  No, I'm not saying change is bad.

Rather I'm saying, If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right now.  

Child annoyances: Teachers

Left handed children in schools have many problems in getting an education, and being left handed is not one of them.  There are many objects in schools which make life difficult - pens, books, desks, rulers, scissors, etc.  But the single greatest source of frustration for children is the adult in the class, the educated person who is supposed to know better.

The teacher.

Promises, promises

The only thing I trust a theist to be is untrustworthy.  The only surprise in this story is that it was teenage girls who were raped, not pre-teen children.

Backslider: Catholic youth leader raped victim after promising not to do it again
A Catholic youth leader who promised a teenager he had raped that he would never rape again if she didn’t report him to police was reported to police by his victim after he sexually assaulted her best friend.

Priorities, priorities

Indian politicians have been putting all their efforts into writing and enforcing blasphemy laws, to prevent criticism of religion.

Preventing the rape of women?  They think it's a minor issue.

Woman gang-raped on Christmas Eve in India: reports
The reports of the latest assault came two days before India was due to mark the first anniversary of the death of a student who was gangraped on a bus in an attack that shocked the nation.
The woman who was assaulted on Christmas Eve told police she was abducted by three men while sightseeing with friends in Karaikal, a port city in Puducherry, the Times of India newspaper and TV networks reported.
One of the men raped her at a secluded spot before freeing her, the Times said.
She called for help but then another group of seven men attacked her as she was being escorted to a safe place, the paper said.

Friday, 27 December 2013

Adult annoyances: Pens, part 1

Businesses and institutions like banks, government offices and the like will tie down their pens to prevent them from being stolen.  I don't object to that, it's as much a waste of time for them to replace the pens as it is the cost of replacing them.

What I don't like is the assumption that everyone is right handed.  Have you ever seen a pen on a cord that was tied on the left side of a counter?

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Design flaws

This tag refers to problems with the design of objects which are designed for the right hand but work poorly or do not work at all for left handed people.  There are many objects which, by their design, either cannot be held with the left hand, or worse if held with the left, the user's vision is blocked.

A basic example of this is scissors, most are made for right handed people.  When held with the right, the top blade is behind what is being cut, the bottom blade underneath.  If a left handed person tries to use right handed scissors, the top blade blocks the view of what is being cut.

Wednesday, 25 December 2013


Ergonomics is (to borrow from the dictionary) "the branch of engineering science in which biological science is used to study the relation between workers and their environments".  Or in simpler terms, how easy things are to use.  Tags containing this label will discuss objects that may not be dangerous or difficult to use, but are designed for right handed people without consideration for left handed users.

In The Wrong Hands

This label is intended to identify things that are dangerous or difficult to use for left handed people.

Right handed people ignorantly assume that left handed people are "uncoordinated" or "clumsy".  Wrong.  When objects are deliberately designed for use with the right hand, it is difficult to use them correctly with the left.  The problem is not the user's hand, it's the design of the object.

Posts with this tag will talk about objects (machinery, kitchen utensils, etc.) that are poorly designed or contain design bias.

Everyday Annoyances

"It's not the mountains that wear you down.  It's the grain of sand in your shoe."

That statement is truer than you could ever believe.   A grain of sand on its own weighs very little.  But as it reaches a million or even a billion grains, the weight begins to add up.  But even a single grain can cause damage, cause blistering and bleeding, if it wears away repeatedly on the same spot.

It's not single, big things about right hand privilege which annoy left handed people.  Rather, it's the small, everyday things that get under one's skin.  That's what this label is for, to identify the small things that can irritate a little at a time, like the single grain of sand in your shoe will irritate.

December 25th is just another Wednesday

Here are some significant historical facts that happened on this date, and the year they happened:

1066 : Duke William of Normandy ('William the Conqueror) crowned king of England

1492 : Columbus' ship Santa Maria runs aground and sinks on Hispaniola

1926 : Hirohito becomes emperor of Japan (1926-1989)

1947 : Taiwan passes Human Rights laws (Day of Earth Law)

1989 : Japanese scientists achieve -271.8°C, coldest temp ever recorded

Fictional events did not and do not take place, no matter how many people claim they did.


Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Children suffer the most from right handed privilege

Left handed children suffer the most because right handed privilege is unlike any other form of privilege.

When people in other minorities face privilege (adults or children), they can ask for help, band together and take action, or at the least, communicate with each other and find support:
  • Women who are harassed or face a glass ceiling in the workplace
  • Those who endure racism
  • LGBTQ people and homophobia
And so on.  People in these groups can gain support both within families and within communities, or even further afield.  They are large and visible groups, with the knowledge and ability to take action because there are many adults among them, and they can communicate with each other.

For left handed people, it's a different matter.

Left handed adults have very few problems with it.  Aside from possible hiring discrimination (e.g. mechanical devices and machines designed only to be operated with the right hand), it's a non-issue.  Adults have the experience, education and knowledge to adapt, adjust or take legal action.

Left handed children, on the other hand, have massive problems.  Women, ethnic minorities or LGBTQ people who can obtain support from family, teachers and community.  But for left handed children, their own families, teachers and community are most often the source of discrimination and abuse.  The people who should be their support system are most often the source of the problem, and  left handed children have no one they can ask for help.

Without that sense of community,  left handed children lack a support structure, and are isolated.  And because they are young, they lack the experience, knowledge and ability to help themselves.  It really is the same way gay people felt decades ago, as if they're the only one in the world, and everyone is telling them they're wrong.

Often the only left handed person in their families.  If the parents are biased against left handedness because of religion or culture, they will try to force the child to switch hands.

In schools, teachers are almost all left handed and fail to teach left handed children properly.  "Corporal punishment" and verbal abuse still go on, even where it's illegal.  I've seen it first hand, teaching in various Asian countries.

Communities and cultures often perpetuate ignorant and outdated views that left handedness is "evil", "dirty", "stupid" or "awkward", none of which is true.

Parents: If your child is left handed, educate yourself instead of taking it out on your child.  Forcing a child to change hands is a form of child abuse.  Read books.  Become informed and understand that left handedness is as natural as one's gender.

Teachers: Respect the fact that left handedness is natural and does not need to be "changed", that abuse is not acceptable.  Your personal views have no place in the classroom.  You have an obligation to treat that child with respect, and an obligation to do your job and teach that child.  Neglect and passive-aggressive behaviour are as much abuse as violence or insults.

Communities: "Culture" is a choice.  Ignorance is a choice.  Left handedness is natural.

Religions: Keep your views to yourself.   Left handedness is not "evil".

Right hand privilege is wrong

Right hand privilege is wrong.  

What does that mean?  It means right handed people are unaware of their unearned privilege.  It means they should be aware that there are left handed people, and that societal norms, design of objects and everyday behaviours should not be done solely for the benefit of right handed people.

In starting this blog, I am not claiming that the right handed privilege is comparable to racism, sexism or other forms of discrimination.  I'm not even calling it organized discrimination.  And this is definitely not intended to be confrontational.  What I am calling it, however, is a lack of consideration the one in seven people who are left handed, and I am calling for right handed people to think about it.

For adults, right handed privilege is generally a minor issue, except perhaps where dangerous machinery is involved and left handed people are forced to used things with the wrong hand instead of the left hand.  The biggest annoyances I have are ones I can work around.

For children, though, right handed privilege is a major issue.  Materials in classrooms - books, desks, various objects - are designed for right handed people.  But even if objects weren't a consideration, the attitude of teachers, schools, parents and societies are.  Children are still forced and harassed to switch hands against their nature, a topic I will go into in other posts.

Alan Turing has been pardoned...sixty one years too late

Crack the Enigma code and enable the allies to defeat the Nazis?  Nope, not good enough.

Inventing modern computing?  Nope, not that either.

The only gross indecency was the false conviction and hypocrisy by his own government.

And as for "suicide", even that is debatable and questionable.  I won't be surprised if it's someday revealed that he was murdered.

Alan Turing granted royal pardon for gay sex conviction
Mathematician Alan Turing, who helped Britain win the Second World War by cracking Nazi Germany's "unbreakable" Enigma code, was granted a rare royal pardon on Tuesday for a criminal conviction for homosexuality that led to his suicide.

Edward Snowdon: “I already won."

Every time this man talks, he impresses me all the more.

“For me, in terms of personal satisfaction, the mission’s already accomplished,” Edward Snowdon said. “I already won. As soon as the journalists were able to work, everything that I had been trying to do was validated. Because, remember, I didn’t want to change society. I wanted to give society a chance to determine if it should change itself."
“If I defected at all,” Snowden says, “I defected from the government to the public.” 

Mikhail Kalashnikov, dead at 94

Regardless of what you think of the man and the weapon he created, he is a significant figure of the past one hundred years. His weapon may have become the tool of communist expansion and terrorism, but he is no worse than (read: is equally as awful as) any American, British, Belgian, German, Israeli, French or other gun designer.


"Blame the Nazi Germans for making me become a gun designer," said Kalashnikov. "I always wanted to construct agricultural machinery." 

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Why I don't watch football, part 8: Murder/suicide, and the possibility of CTE

In December 2012, Jovan Belcher committed suicide.  He murdered his girlfriend, then drove to the Kansas City Chiefs (NFL) practice facility and shot himself in front of his coaches.

His family now wants to know if he suffered from CTE.


Report: Former NFL player's body exhumed for brain study
The body of former NFL linebacker Jovan Belcher was exhumed Friday in order to perform tests on his brain, a lawyer for the player's family told the Kansas City Star.

Why I don't watch baseball, part 2: Concussions, and now, a suicide

Former MLB player Ryan Freel committed suicide in December 2012.  Since then, he has the dubious distinction of being the first Major League Baseball player diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, which has been diagnosed in dozens of dead ex-NFL players and some ex-NHL players.

Freel committed suicide last December at the age of 36.
Testing of his brain tissue after death -- the only way to definitively diagnose CTE -- found that he had Stage 2 CTE, which is associated with erratic behavior and memory loss. Stage 4, the worst possible expression of the disease, is associated with full-blown dementia, aggression and paranoia.

Prostitution is effectively decriminalized in Canada, but it could be worse

The Surpreme Court of Canada has struck down all laws regarding prostitution, most of which were based on "nuisance laws".  By striking down the laws, the court has effectively decriminalized prostitution (there's a difference between decriminalization and legalization).  If you think this decision is bad, it could be worse.


I'm no fan of legalized prostitution, though I'm also onside with full protection - legal and physical - of those who sell sex.  Those who sell should be allowed to work (yes, it is work) in positions of safety.  Legalized brothels with security guards would prevent violence and other crime perpetrated against sex workers.  And it also protects the Johns, since they don't have to worry about "some psycho with a knife".  (Then again, if they're so worried, why aren't they buying a porno magazine and servicing themselves in safety?)

Those who sell sex are not the cause of the problem.  Prostitution exists because there is a demand for it.  If you want to stop prostitution, if you want to prosecute someone involved in it, target the Johns.  No Johns, no prostutition.

Happy New Year

The Julian Calendar may say December 21st, but to me, this is the start of the New Year.  This is the day of the winter solstice, the day when the Earth is at its perihelion, its closest point to the Sun.

Yes, we are closest to the Sun now.  So why is it winter in the northern hemisphere?  Because the northern half is pointing away from the Sun, thus receiving less heat and light.  It is summer in the southern hemisphere, which is actually warmer than summer in the north.

We are definitely exhibiting a northern bias, aren't we?

Buck the trend.  Start your year on the winter solstice, not eight to ten days after.  Calendars are arbitrary enough, make the starting point of the year meaningful.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Male privilege sucks: Maasai women who refuse FGM are refused marriage

In a disgusting display of arrogance, males in the Maasai tribe in Tanzania are refusing to marry women who have refused to subject themselves to the horrors of Female Genital Mutilation.

No, FGM is not "clean".  The mutilation is actually less hygenic than women's natural genitalia.

No, it is not a "minor issue".  The violent cutting of highly sensitive skin leaves women with a lifetime of pain and discomfort, and most of the time it is done to girls too young to consent.

No, it is not "cultural" or "religious", it is an act of violence.  The fiction of religion does not trump the reality of nature.

No, male genital mutilation is not comparable.  The only way it could be compared is if the head of the penis were cut off with an axe, leaving only the shaft.  And even then, it's still not an apt comparison.

Toyota put the brakes on because their cars won't

Toyota has been fighting tooth and nail to avoid any liability for injuries and deaths caused by their cars.  Toyota has wanted the plaintiff to prove their cars are faulty.  However, Toyota is conceding defeat because the judge in that case has ruled that circumstantial evidence will be considered.

There are a huge number of unrelated incidents, with drivers who have no history of reckless driving nor suicidal behaviour, and they all suddenly decide to drive at 160 km/h through cities?  Sorry, Toyota, that's not plausible.  The judge has made the right call.


Sunday, 15 December 2013

Charity starts with selfishness

The rich repeatedly claim that "We give a lot to charity!" but you never hear who exactly is getting the money or for what purpose.  So somebody decided to take a close look.

Do the rich give to food banks?  To help the underprivileged go to college?  Help the homeless?

Oh, puh-leeze, don't be so naïve.


Rich people’s idea of charity: Giving to elite schools and operas 

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Hypocrisy, thy name is America, part 1: CIA spies are exempt from laws

When countries spy on the US - from WITHIN the US - you'll Americans get into a tizzy and whine about "treason", despite the fact that only citizens can be traitors.  Foreigners who do it are spies, effectively engaging in acts of war.

So why is it when Americans spy on other countries, commit crimes within other countries on the US's behalf, they're "not criminals" and should be returned to the US?  Then again, the US is the country which whined about the Lockerbie bombers while protecting Orlando Bosch, a CIA stooge who bombed a Cuban airliner, killing 75 civilians.

American missing in Iran since 2007 was working for the CIA

Why I don't watch football, part 7: “This was an investigation of a rape victim”

Patricia Carroll is the lawyer of a young woman who was raped in Florida. She said, “This was an investigation of a rape victim, not an investigation of a rape suspect."

She says the Tallahassee Police Department and Florida state attorney Willie Meggs were more interested in clearing Jameis Winston of the rape charge than of finding out if he did it despite the evidence they have. Given the history of sports figures with rape accusations (e.g. Roethlisberger) and a failure to prosecute, I have no reason to doubt her.

But hey, Heisman trophies and the possibility of winning a "national championship" are so much more important than ensuring justice is carried out. Lucky for him he plays for Florida State (13-0) playing in the BCS title game and not Florida Atlantic (6-6) playing tiddly winks. Or are all football players exempt from prosecution in Florida?


Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Twenty years on, I'm still in the MOOD for DOOM

On December 10, 1993, a two megabyte file was uploaded by a six-person software company in Texas onto the computer systems of University of Wisconsin–Madison.  What was done as a favour by U W-M's sysadmin turned into an event which crashed their system.

DOOM was released.  And the world would never be the same again.

DOOM was remarkable as a computer game in four significant ways:

1) It was the first widely-popular First Person Shooting game (FPS).

Yes, there were others before it (Catacomb, Wolfenstein 3D), but it was DOOM that popularized the genre and changed gaming.  The sense of being in the game was unlike any other on the market.  The only other widely player first person types of games at the time were car racing games.  DOOM added fear and paranoia, sound and lighting to make gameplay seem almost real.

2) It proved that shareware was a viable and profitable method of distribution

DOOM's shareware release (today, it would be called demoware) meant people could download the program and play before paying, able to get a taste without buying the whole meal.  And because the meal was so tasty and new, people did pay.  Sure, there was a shareware market and distribution system, but it was used mostly by individual programmers, not large computer companies who continued to sell programs in packaged boxes.

3) DOOM introduced modding to the world

Other people had modded games before id (e.g. Ms. Pac-Man), but DOOM made it easy for less technically proficient people to create and insert their own graphics, sounds and level design into the game, something never before possible for most.  Modding spawned (pun definitely intended) its own industry of add-ons that people made and sold.

4) DOOM introduced networked gaming

Before DOOM, "multiplayer gaming" meant either taking turns (playing until you "died" and then handed the controller to another player until that person "died") or two players looking at the same screen with the same view (or worse, a top/bottom split screen with a smaller view).

DOOM's appearance meant that two people could now play against each other with full computer power to themselves.  And not just separate machines, but separate viewing and playing.  It meant you could play someone across a room, in another room, another building and eventually, another country.  DOOM make the internet a near necessity for multiplayer gaming.


Whether you like DOOM or not, you have to respect its place in history and its influence.  Just as the Lord Of The Rings movies could not exist without Dungeons and Dragons, so too could today's gaming not exist without DOOM.

DOOM is likely to remain popular for the next decade given John Carmack's decision to release the source code.  There are many high quality ports of DOOM still in development, with additions of sound, graphics, player movement and many other features.  And with the plethora of fan-made WAD files to use, there's no end to customization.  DOOM is nowhere near the end of its playability.

DOOM World has a list of ports to various computer systems including DOS, Windows, Macintosh, Linux and several others.   ZDOOM, Brutal DOOM, and Chocolate DOOM are among the more popular and recently updated versions.


One genius maniac obsessed individual person went so far as to create a Flash side scrolling verion that can be played in a browser.


Friday, 6 December 2013

Three women held as slaves for decades were victims of religion

Why am I not surprised?

Man accused of London slavery 'claimed he was Christ and took thousands from followers'
The head of the Maoist sect accused of keeping three female slaves tried to convince his followers he was like Jesus Christ and persuaded them to hand over thousands of pounds for the revolutionary cause, a former activist claimed yesterday.
The women are a 30-year-old Briton, named in reports as Rosie Davies, 57-year-old Josephine Herivel from Belfast, and a 69-year-old Malaysian, confirmed by that country's police to be Siti Aishah Wahab.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Where is Jozef Wesolowski?

Another day, another catholic priest is facing charges for child molestation.

Dominican Republic: Prosecutors Find Archbishop Sexually Abused Minors
Prosecutors in the Dominican Republic say that that the former apostolic nuncio to that country, Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, is guilty of molesting at least five boys.
Wesolowski was relieved of his duties and recalled to Rome in August, after Church leaders in the Dominican Republic informed Pope Francis that they had uncovered evidence of sexual abuse by the papal representative. The Vatican turned over the evidence to the Dominican government, and has pledged to cooperate with prosecutors there and indeed, Dominican authorities report that the Vatican and church officials were fully cooperative in their investigation.
That's what they claim, but their actions are different.

Defining stupidity

I watched a documentary on stupidity.  It posed the question of "What is stupidity?" but never defined it, probably because it's too nebulous to define.

The best definition I can think of is this:
stupidity (n.)
1. To act in contradiction to reality, facts, and/or one's own interests
2. To deny and ignore reality and facts in pursuit of one's desires or ambitions
It's not a perfect catch-all, but it fairly well describes things most educated would call stupid:
  • "daredevils" and other physically dangerous acts
  • religion, creationism, climate change denial, political hypocrisy
  • obsession and fanaticism (music, movies, sports, etc.)

Are software makers becoming more considerate to left handed people?

No.  If they were, they would have included left handed options from the get-go.  Hey, who cares about 10-15% of the users anyway?



They seem to be responding to user concerns, but only after complaints come in.

Here's one about a right handed person reporting his use of a mouse with the left hand.  He switched hands due to a repetitive motion injury.


Thursday, 28 November 2013

Buy Nothing Day is here at last

Novermber 29th 2013 is Buy Nothing Day in North America.

Novermber 30th 2013 is International  Buy Nothing Day.




Do your part by not doing what corporations want.

Buy Nothing Day isn't just anti-corporatism, it's pro-environment.  There is too much waste, too much consumerism, too much "disposable" junk.

Stop buying things that you throw away.  Buy better quality stuff, and use it until it wears out.  My last cell phone was four years old before it broke from everyday use, long after it was "outdated" in terms of features.  ("Outdated"?  No, I could still make phone calls and still receive calls.  It worked.)  And I still use the laptop computer I bought in 2006 because it works too.  I use it for recording TV shows.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

The War On Cyclists and Pedestrians: Father arrested for walking to his kids' school

How ludicrous has the US become where parents are NOT allowed to walk to schools and pick up their children?  Or that parents are REQUIRED to have cars in order to do so?

"Just doing his job" is second only to "disorderly conduct" on the list of make-it-up-as-you-go-along police work.  It's not about "laws", it's about demonstrating and exerting authority (read: bullying the populace).

Libertarian clowns are trying to get mileage out of this story, but the real issues are parents having the right to see their own children at any time, and that cars are prioritized over pedestrians.

Cumberland County parent outraged by his arrest
A Cumberland County father didn't want to wait in a long line of traffic to pick his kids up from school. That led to a series of encounters last week at South Cumberland Elementary, and now the dad's facing charges.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

What happenes when the "legal system" is more corrupt than the criminals?

What happens?  The corrupt members get a slap on the wrist.

Mass. chemist gets 3-to-5 years in drug lab scandal
A chemist at a Massachusetts drug lab who admitted faking test results in criminal cases pleaded guilty Friday to obstruction of justice, perjury and tampering with evidence in a scandal that has jeopardized thousands of convictions.
"Jeopardized thousands of convictions"?  Excuse me?  How about the dozens or possibly hundreds of innocent people who were falsely convicted?  Or does the stenographer assume the accused are all guilty?

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Feminist Frequency and Tropes vs Women: 4 for 4

Anita Sarkeesian has hit for the cycle.



"Ms. Male Character" is the fourth in her series on video games and tropes against women.  Some try to question her methods and conclusions (she is not another Malcolm Gladwell, thankfully), but her arguments are sound.  They are provocative and eye opening, definitely worth a viewing.

The War On Cyclists and Pedestrians: Squash player deliberately murdered, minimal charges for the driver

Labelling such killings as "accidents" is done to minimize the actions of the perpetrator and to blame the victim.

At the very least, the killing of Adrian Dudzicki was manslaughter, if not second degree murder, and the driver should face that charge and the prison sentence that comes with it.

The media label the killing of cyclists and pedestrians "accidents" to blame the victim and to protect "car culture".  Remember that if you kid is ever run over by a car on a sidewalk - your child will be labelled the guilty party, the driver will be deemed innocent.


Friday, 22 November 2013

Amanda Berry is alive, and Sylvia Browne is dead

People say when someone dies, you should only say good things about them.

Sylvia Browne is dead.  Good.

Browne's track record of "prediction" was so bad that random dice rolls produced better results.


There are thousands of other frauds willing to cheat the uneducated out of their money, but at least Browne won't be doing it anymore.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

It's a start, but we're only part way there

Kids are starting to see that using epithets is wrong, and are not using them anymore.

That's good, but are they calling out others who do it?  It's not enough to stop yourself.  Stop others if you know it's wrong.  "Don't do that," is the least you can say.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Assaulting and/or killing cyclists is a "minor" offense

In the New York Times on November 9, writer Daniel Duane asked, "Is It O.K. to Kill Cyclists?"

The anecdotes mounted: my wife’s childhood friend was cycling with Mom and Dad when a city truck killed her; two of my father’s law partners, maimed. I began noticing “cyclist killed” news articles, like one about Amelie Le Moullac, 24, pedaling inside a bike lane in San Francisco’s SOMA district when a truck turned right and killed her. In these articles, I found a recurring phrase: to quote from The San Francisco Chronicle story about Ms. Le Moullac, “The truck driver stayed at the scene and was not cited.”
In stories where the driver had been cited, the penalty’s meagerness defied belief, like the teenager in 2011 who drove into the 49-year-old cyclist John Przychodzen from behind on a road just outside Seattle, running over and killing him. The police issued only a $42 ticket for an “unsafe lane change” because the kid hadn’t been drunk and, as they saw it, had not been driving recklessly.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Genetics and left handedness may finally have a proven link

A study from the UK and the Netherlands may finally end bigotry toward and the abuse of children who are left handed.  Scientists have identified a genes which makes handedness in inborn trait, and not something to be "changed" through mental and physical abuse.

"Go bags" are a good idea

I like to have a "go bag" ready at all times.   Yes, it's mainly in case of an emergency, but it's nice not having to pack if a friend says, "Hey, let's go to __________ tomorrow!"  I can grab and go at a moment's notice.
(Take note: Being prepared and being a "prepper" are not the same thing.  The former hopes a disaster will end.  The latter hopes it never does.)

If you live somewhere that a disaster could happen (i.e. you live on the Earth), it's a good idea to be prepared, even if it's just the basics.  I don't want six months of food and water in my apartment, but I do have six days' worth at all times.

Harassment of employees is a crime, unless you're doing it for "god"

Judge: Owner can't lecture employees on religion
A southwest Iowa grocery store owner who lectured an employee on her religious beliefs must pay her unemployment benefits, a state judge has ruled.
The case centered on a question that often divides civil libertarians and people of faith: Do business owners have the right to advocate for their religious beliefs in discussions with employees?

Of course not.  Religious harassment and come-ons are as offensive as sexual harassment and sexual come-ons.  They're both unwelcome and both criminal.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

The dealer has changed the packaging of his addictive drug

Changing the packaging doesn't change the fact that the drug is addictive, or that the dealer is trying to keep the profits coming in.

Arizona prisons are turning into death camps

Arizona prisons are turning into death camps, and like death camps elsewhere, many of the public think those inside "deserve it" and have no empathy for them.


Arizona prison horror: “Critically ill” inmates told to “pray” for healing
A new report alleges illegal and deadly mistreatment of Arizona inmates whose medical care the state contracted out to the country’s largest private prison health care provider.

Why I don't watch football, part 6: Thuggish behaviour by players and coaches

Jameis Winston, quarterback for the Florida State Seminoles professional football team (let's not pretend otherwise) is under suspicion for sexual assault allegedly committed a year ago.  It does not surprise to hear about such things when so much money is on the line (e.g. merchandise, TV rights, bowl games, et al).  Given that FSU is contending for the fictional "national championship", you can be certain that every effort will be made to keep Winston out of jail until after the championship game or bowl game which FSU goes to.  He should enjoy his freedom while it lasts.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

"Looks to me a little bit like lust"

The only lust I see is Gordon Klingenschmitt's lust for hate and violence.   Or does Klingenschmitt secretly have a thing for babies?


How could anyone who is well adjusted read sexual desire into the faces of a pair of loving fathers?


Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Why I don't watch football, part 5: "Keep the redskins white"

I don't see any ethical difference between Daniel Snyder's refusal to drop the name "redskins" and a picture from 1961 of Ku Klux Klan members protesting for the team to continue having only white players.


Mother Jones: Richard Cohen's 10 Worst Moments, Counted Down

You have to wonder where someone's head is - down the rabbit hole perhaps (or somewhere else dark, wet and dirty) - to think such things.


No matter which one you read first, the others are worse.

Why I don't watch football, part 4: Another dead kid

With each passing day and each new story, I regret ever having been a fan of the game.  Football should be banned, along with boxing, "ultimate fighting", "mixed martial arts" and other potentially lethal activities.

A high school football player died Monday night at a Phoenix hospital, days after he suffered a blow to the head during a game.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Never "thank" an ex-soldier for his military service

"Thanking" ex-soldiers is not about showing gratitiude, it's about smug self-satisfaction and flag waving by those "thanking" them. If people really cared about them, they would be offering condolences for their lost innocence and their dead friends.

In May 2013, a series of pictures hit the news showing the faces of British soldiers - before they ever seeing combat, during, and after. You can see the lost hope, joy and innocence in their faces and especially their eyes.


Sacrifice to the fallacy that war can end

The enscription on the gravestone of 2nd Lieutenant Arthur Conway Young, who died on August 16, 1917, reads thus:

"Sacrifice to the fallacy that war can end."

The corpse worship that goes on every November 11th is not a call to end war, it is a call for blind support of war. And those who call for it the most are often the profiteers of war. In England, BAE (the biggest supplier of military equipment in the country) is the principal "sponsor" of the British Legion.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Good riddance to bad rubbish...I mean, bad business practices

Blockbuster Video, the lackluster rental company, is finally and permanently closing its doors.  It won't be missed.


The company may have been a giant, but became one at the expense of other companies and of consumers.  Its poorly written and inconsistent policies, its excessive late fees and its sheer arrogance made it easy for a competing business like Netflix to arise.  On top of that lackluster...I mean, Blockbuster failed to see the writing on the wall of their brick-and-mortar business.  Digital distribution was the future, and they failed to see it until five years too late.  I certainly won't miss them.  If I rented their movies more than five times during their existence, I would be surprised.

I preferred the mom-and-pop rental shops, and not just because they were locally owned.  They tended to be reasonable and responsive to problems, and not treat human beings as an inconvenient part of doing business.

A wrinkle in time: smooth skin as a sign of longevity

Like it or not, your skin may be an indicator of how long you live.


A study in the Journal of Gerontology (*), a study of both women and men showed a relationship between blood pressure and how wrinkled a person's skin is.  The more wrinkles there are, the higher the blood pressure.

(* published by Unilever, so there may be corporate for-profit pseudo-science)

Sunday, 10 November 2013

A slap on the wrist is not "punishment"

Former  Williamson County (Texas) district attorney Ken Anderson has been disbarred, serve 500 hours of community service and do ten days in jail.  For what crime did he get such a punishment?

He knowingly railroaded an innocent man, Michael Morton, to a conviction for the murder of his wife.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

BMW says, "Pedestrians cause car accidents"

BMW has created a "pedestrian safety" website, "instructing" children (read: blaming children who are hit) to wear fluorescent vests or armbands when walking on the sidewalks and when crossing streets.


On the face of it, this sounds like something responsible.  In reality, this is victim blaming.  The goal of the website is to say, "They should have been more visible," to children who are injured or killed by speeding drivers.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Why I don't watch football, part 3: "FrontLine: League Of Denial"

Frontline has produced a brilliant documentary on the effects and prevalence of concussions amongst football players.  It's not limited to professionals as many belief.  It happens to college players, and to teenagers.

Players of all ages have died from CTE, or Chronic traumatic encephalopathy.  More than fifty brains of deceased NFL players have been examined, and well over forty were proven to have had CTE.  Many living former players are suffering from its effects: memory loss, mood swings, the inability to concentrate.  Many have turned to drug use, violence or suicide (e.g. Junior Seau).

The NFL owners knew about it all along.  And they chose to pretend it didn't exist.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Hey, Japan: There's a reason that Germany has gotten past Nazism.

There's a reason that Germany has gotten past its dark era of Nazism.  The country came clean and purged itself, prosecuting criminals and making reparations.  It's easier to be forgiven when you're willing to admit fault and mistakes.

That's why Japan has never been truly forgiven for its past, the history of Japan's imperialism in the first half of the 20th century.  Japan has refused to come clean, refused to admit its mistakes.  Since World War II, Japan has had repeated incidents of historical revisionism in school textbooks, denials of atrocities (re: the Rape of Nanking), and worst of all, the organized and planned mass rape of women from across Asia, the misnomer of "comfort women".

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Why I don't watch football, part 2: A player is bullied to death

Christian Adamek committed suicide after bullying...by the school principal.  After streaking through the school on a "dare", the principal sought inflated criminal charges against the teen.  Adamek would have been labelled a "sexual predator", the same as rapists and child molesters.

Monday, 30 September 2013

Happy International Blasphemy Day, September 30th

If a religion can’t take a joke, then that religion IS a joke. Only the emotionally insecure and infantile can’t handle criticism and mockery.

And if “god” is powerful enough to create the universe, then it doesn’t need stooges to do its dirty work. Let “god” punish me himself.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

The inevitable has happened three times

Members of the Greek fascist party "Golden Dawn" incited and advocated anti-immigration violence, what is known as "stochastic terrorism".

One of the "lone wolf" fanboys of the far-right party murdered a Greek celebrity who spoke out against hate speech.

And now, the "Golden Dawn" party is under investigation, including members of its party in the Greek parliament.

The only person that needs to be tried is the public persecutor

Long overdue, the farcical "conviction" of Marissa Alexander has been overturned.  The question now is, will the overzealous careerist who falsely convicted her try to do it again?  Will that prosecutor be allowed to continue a chain of corrupt and biased decisions of who to charge and who not to?

Friday, 20 September 2013

The War On Cyclists and Pedestrians: Five children run over, no charges for the driver

Running Down Five Children on a Sidewalk Is Legal in New York City
DNAinfo is reporting that the driver who jumped a curb and hit five kids in Maspeth this morning, an incident captured on video, probably will not be charged.
A surveillance tape shows a group of kids on a Grand Avenue sidewalk when the driver of a Honda SUV runs one of them over, missing the others by inches. Witnesses lifted the SUV off at least one of the victims. One girl reportedly suffered a broken leg and another a broken hip. One boy has a leg injury and another was treated for a swollen arm. The victims were age 12 to 14. From DNAinfo:

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Obituary: Opera web browser, 1994-2013

Opera was an innovative and customizable web browser.  It created many features adopted by other browsers (e.g. tabbed browsing, gestures, extensive right-click menus among others).  It never attained a large market share for a variety of reasons, none related the browser's functionality or reliability (see also: Beta videotape).

Opera's demise was a voluntary decision of the company to stop making a web browser, and instead create an overlay for Google's Chrome browser (similar to Rockmelt and Iron, or Maxthon based on Internet Explorer).  It is no longer a browser, but instead an attempt to cut costs, an admission of defeat by a company that once led the field in innovative thinking.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Life Imitates Bad "Art"

It is the height of irony (or inevitability of the product coming to life) that a man in England has been violently assaulted, stabbed and mugged by thieves who wanted his copy of "Grand Theft Auto 5".

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Religious dishonesty: Tim Tebow was a "victim of discrimination"

The only discrimination going on in the New England Patriots' camp is the discrimination between talented and untalented players.

Christians claim persecution after Patriots cut Tim Tebow
September 1, 2013  
Christians are claiming persecution after Christian darling Tim Tebow was cut from the New England Patriots. The Patriots released Tebow on Saturday, a move that leaves the polarizing and proselytizing quarterback's NFL future in doubt.
Many Christians are unhappy with the decision, claiming Tebow is the victim of persecution because of his outspoken and public profession of his Christian faith. Tebow, raised by controversial evangelical missionary parents, is famous for praying on the football field. His pretentious public displays of piety have thrilled his Christian fans, while making many others slightly ill.

There is no "anti-christian bias", especially when the teams' owner is vocally christian, as are the bulk of the players and many of the team's management and coaching staff.  The same stupid accusations were made in the Roy Moore / "ten commandments" case (where Moore was removed from office for breaking the law).

Religious criminality: Is the pope protecting another pedophile?

Why the rush to remove someone from a position?  It's not as if he's going to arrested for something.

Or is he?


Vatican Abruptly Ousts Dominican Republic Envoy
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic September 4, 2013 (AP) 
Authorities in the Dominican Republic will look into allegations of child sex abuse against the papal envoy to the Caribbean country following his abrupt removal from his post by the Vatican, the attorney general said Wednesday.
 Attorney General Francisco Dominguez Brito was careful to note that his office is aware only of rumors about the papal nuncio, Archbishop Josef Wesolowski, and has not received any accusations.
 A Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, confirmed that Wesolowski had been removed from his post and that the church was conducting an investigation of him. He declined to provide any details about the accusations against the Polish-born prelate.
A nuncio is the pope's ambassador to a country and such an abrupt removal is rare.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Another case of rape in India

Except that this time, it's a religious leader.  Earlier in 2013, he blamed the victim of a rape, the woman who was murdered by a gang of rapists on a bus.
Indian spiritual leader arrested on rape charge
JAIPUR, India (AP) — A controversial spiritual guru was arrested early Sunday on a rape charge filed by a teenage girl in the northwestern Indian state of Rajasthan, police said.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

More Psychos Than Psychologists

An astounding "news" story appeared in the Taipei Times today, Wednesday August 24 2013:

"Thousands of Taiwanese have ability to communicate with ghosts: psychiatrists"

Every Ghost Month, many Taiwanese observe Taoist rituals and ceremonies during the period when, according to traditional Chinese beliefs, the spirits of the dead are allowed to re-enter the mortal world.

Among those who believe in the spiritual realm are people who also believe in psychic powers and paranormal phenomena associated with ghosts and spirits. Despite many decrying believing in the paranormal as mere superstition, several psychiatrists say that thousands of Taiwanese are capable of communicating with spirits or ghosts.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Lousy-ana school districts

Louisiana?  Lousy-ana is more like it, especially it's "education" system.  Did anyone really believe that "private schools" which inflict ignorant, dogmatic religion upon children would lead to better education?

The "textbooks" those places used weren't your typical creationist drivel.  They were the books which described slavery as "triangular trade", and eradicated any mention of Thomas Jefferson who advocated the separation of cult and state.

Friday, 23 August 2013

There is only one thing to say about Michael Shermer

Michael Shermer has been accused of sexually assaulting or perhaps raping one or more women.  The veracity of any such claims is beyond my knowledge, so I have no comment on whether it is true or not.

But you have to wonder why Shermer's response is legal action to silence criticism, rather than a presentation or explanation of his interactions with the woman who accused him (or women, since a second has come forward).

Worse yet, Shermer is openly grateful to someone who is raising money for his legal costs - a person who has openly told rape jokes to get laughs.  Shermer endorses such a person instead of distancing himself from him.  Rape is not something to joke about.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Religion kills: Indian pilgrims murder train driver

A group of pilgrims in India deliberately walked onto the tracks of a high speed train line and expected their presence to stop the train.   News reports have erroneously said "Thirty seven pilgrims were killed by a train".

Wrong.  Trains take almost a kilometre to stop, they don't stop on a time.  The train drivers are blameless, doing their jobs and obeying rail signals and driving in a safe manner, unlike the Spanish train driver who was speeding and crashed a train.  Drivers should not have to expect people breaking the law and endangering themselves.

After the trespassers were killed and bodies sent everwhere, the train drivers stopped the trains to help those injured.  In response, the mob of religious fanatics proceeded to attack the drivers and killed at least one, if not more of the drivers, and the mob set the train cars on fire.


Religion kills: Indian atheist murdered by fanatics

 Narendra Dabholkar was murdered in India for the act of questioning religion.  Religious terrorism strikes again.


Monday, 12 August 2013

Old technology #1: AT-101 Keyboards

I grew up with a typewriter in the house.  I had learnt to type before my family had its first computer...a TI99-4/A (which should tell you how long that has been).

I liked how the keys felt on a typewriter, how it took a lot of force to strike one.  Making a mistake was difficult because you had to put in a lot of effort to hit the key.  When the Apple II and later PCs came into vogue, they had much the same keyboards.  Even the early Macintoshes were that way.

Early computer keyboards weren't just hard to hit, they were hard to break.  They were heavy but well made, and not prone to breaking down or breaking, period.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Why I don't watch baseball

When I say that I do not watch baseball, I am only talking about "Major League" baseball.  I love watching the Pacific League from Japan, or even the Korean Baseball League.  They play at a very high level but without steroids.

 And when I say that I do not watch baseball, it is not steroids that put me off.  Yes, steroids are ruining the game and the owners of MLB teams are encouraging players to take them, but that is beside the point.  (If you disagree, ask yourself why there is such a  focus on "macho" crap like strikeouts and home runs.  Just like the olympics, records are what sell tickets, not the event itself.)

The MLB owners could easily fix the game and get rid of steroids at the same time.  It would not require drug testing, nor would it require any changes to the rules.

What is would require is for baseball to enforce rules that are already on the books.

Friday, 9 August 2013

Why I don't watch football, part 1: children and concussions

When I say football, I am talking about the North American game, not the world game.

Football is a brutal, full contact game.  It is rife with injuries to the feet, knees, back, arms shoulders, and worst of all, the head and neck.

Last fall a news item talked about concussions in football and the danger involved in repeated head strikes, even without a diagnosed concussion.  Reading that item put me off watching football altogether.  I have always known about the risks to the players, about the potential of gladitorial sport watched by mobs too cowardly and out of shape to suit up and play themselves.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Feminist Frequency and Tropes vs Women: 3 for 3

The third part of Anita Sarkeesian's "Tropes vs Women" series was released, and like the first two parts, it's brilliant and insightful.  It is also appalling because of the sheer number of examples of sexism.


Equally appalling is that Ms. Sarkeesian needs to block ratings and comments on her videos.  It's not because she is afraid of feedback or disagreement.  On the contrary, unlike certain feminists (not named here), Ms. Sarkeesian is willing to listen to and answer those who disagree with her, and she does not arrogantly assume she has all the answers.

But just because she is willing to listen to reasonable disagreement, it does not means she will be met with reasonable disagreement.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

I am not a feminist nor an ally

How often have you heard someone say,

"I'm not a racist, but..."

and then go on to say something outrageously offensive?  I have lost count of how many times.

Everybody is a bigot.  Everybody.  We all have our unjustifiable biases and prejudices, so it is pointless to deny it.

The cause of poor journalism

A humour site posted a good joke about bad journalism:

Gene for poor science journalism discovered

If only it were true.  The actual causes of bad journalism are much harder to combat.

The first cause is the corporate-owned media.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Annoyances #1: Psycho-phants

When a person writes something and posts it publicly (a blog, a news item, whatever), if there is a way to give feedback to the writer, then inevitably someone will disagree.  Aside from "water is wet", there will always be someone who disagrees.

That's not a problem.  What is a problem are people who allow comments but then don't want to hear them.  They made it possible for people to disagree, then got upset because someone did disagree.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Today is August 15, 573 AG

Today is August 15 , 573 AG, or After Gutenberg.  It was in 1440 CE that Johann Gutenberg created his printing press which changed the world.  Only one invention in history - the plough - had a greater impact on humans and societies.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

The Left Hand is the Proper Hand #1: Discrimination?

Discrimination comes in many forms, and for many reasons - usually, stupid ones.  As societies mature, bigotries become less acceptable and those targeted treated as equals, though not always so.  Sadly, some biases never go away.  Has the attitude towards non-whites in the US today really changed from the days when the KKK operated openly?

When I was a child in the 1970s, it was still acceptable for public school teachers (not just mine, but elsewhere) to "discourage" left handedness in children with corporal punishment  (read: beatings) to force children to change hands.  Disparagement came in other forms - claims of "being satanic", "hamfisted", "awkward" and others.  And just look at the language: many words for "uncoordinated" come from the  word for left (e.g. gauche, sinister, etc.).  It's comparable to the insult in the word "hysteria", the outdated and sexist mentality that all women are neurotic.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Out Of Touch: The Coldness Of Technology

I do not use Facebook and cannot understand the appeal that drives millions to obsess about it. Putting one's name on a commercial website? Allowing one's image and personal information to be distributed who knows where to do who knows what? And worst of all, calling complete strangers "friends"?

They are as much "friends" as a street corner huckster selling knockoff watches. Both misuse the word, devaluing it as they do. I only have friends online the same way I have family online: they were people I knew in person first, not "friended" on the internet. Unless I know them by voice, unless I have looked them in the eye, touched hands, I don't consider them friends. But this does not mean one cannot make true friends by correspondence.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Where to start...?


It's called On Hand Comments because they're not offhand comments.


1. With little or no preparation or forethought
2. Casually thoughtless or inconsiderate

1. In a casually inconsiderate manner
2. Without previous thought or preparation

And it's called On Hand because the good hand (left hand) is onhand. The wrong hand (right hand) is offhand.