James and the Giant Corn Genetics: Studying the Source Code of Nature

October 28, 2008

What A Difference Four Years Makes

Filed under: Politics — James @ 9:35 am

“To Those Who Inquired:

This is a picture of me with my absentee ballot. Seconds later, I carried it down to RPU and put it in the mail. I’ve done what I can.

-James” (Nov. 1st, 2004)

I like the democrats chances a LOT more today than I did four years ago when I sent that fatalistic e-mail and that absentee ballot. And that’s even though they’ve lost my crucial swing state vote, as I’m now registered to vote in California, where the swing elections are on things like Prop 2 (Increased rights for farm animals) and Prop 8 (Taking away the right of gay couples to marry).

Here’s my favorite* of the pro-prop 8 ads that have been running constantly in California.

This is essentially the same argument they used back home to fight the proposal to add sexual orientation the school’s anti-harassment policy: If you give these people legal recognition and protection, how can we teach our children they aren’t allowed to be gay?

*Wouldn’t this ad be more amusing if they cut out the guy in the middle and just had the mother daughter conversation set to the dramatic music from Jaws? “Dun dun dun dun dun”?

October 20, 2008

2004 Results

Filed under: Politics — James @ 4:45 pm

I spent a while this weekend trying to find a record of the order that states were called in on election night in the 2004. I finally found a table of NBCs predictions, but it really didn’t have a lot of impact as a big chunk of text. Since I’ve been looking for an excuse to practice Perl (and as a completely unintended consequence put off homework) I set out to make a movie. In hindsight, counting all the time I spent debugging my own code, it would have been faster to produce each frame by hand…

Note that Kerry conceded and Bush was declared the winner at around 11:30 the next morning when the video stops. At that time the winners in four states remained unknown. (Iowa, Wisconsin, New Mexico, and New Hampshire.) 


August 6, 2008

Insight from Jiffy-with apologies for bringing up politics

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , — James @ 11:04 am

This story all begins because I went in to get my oil changed before driving across the country. It turns out my car went past 90,000 miles since I last had it serviced, and lots of things recommended to be serviced every 15,000 or 30,000 miles also needed to be taken care of (fuel filter, automatic transmission system, etc.) I tell you this not because I believe you will find it fascinating, but because it explains how I came to spend an hour sitting in a Jiffy-lube on monday watching fox news, and happened to catch Obama’s speech on energy issues.

I haven’t been one of those people who’s been grabbed by Obama’s speeches, but he’s certainly the guy I’ll be voting for in the fall and he was talking about an issue that interested me so I was watching his speech intently, and he was making good points (except for the windfall profits tax + rebate but that’s a different post). About ten minutes in to his speak, I start worrying I’m giving away the fact that I’m a democrat, so I decide to look over at my car, so it’s obvious I’m not paying TOO close attention to Obama’s speech. I turn my head and everyone in the room has their eyes locked on the TV. The middle aged, working class guys getting coffee, an old lady, a young mother with a screaming baby, even the employees working behind the counter.

And that’s why I think Obama is a great nominee for the democratic party, and would make an excellent president. Despite all the dirt Hillary Clinton and John McCain have tried to make stick to him, despite the fact that his personal appeal and policy positions were definitely a second choice for me after those of John Edwards, Obama gets people to pay attention. People who would normally tune out any news about politics, and people who normally meet anything a democrat says with an audible snort of derision, simply because the person who said it was a democrat.

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