Friday, January 06, 2006

Where are the Bloggers

What happens to bloggers that lose interest? Does this mean they have lost interest in life, their hobby, and their passion? What ever impelled them to start a blog in the first place must now be missing. The world is full of blogs, I know because I have been searching them out. A surprising number of them are no more, just links to nowhere. Others, while still faintly alive have not had a post for almost two years. What causes the demise of these blogspots that were at once interesting, even up to the last post? Maybe the blogger died, or is in prison; though I think there are prisoners who are also bloggers, maybe their spouses objected to the subject matter. Whatever the reason this blog, “That’s Outrageous” has a stated goal of longevity. This means a post at least once a day about something.

Today I have been reading the double issue of the Economist, which has several very interesting articles. This of course is not unusual. The one that most attracted my attention was the Survey about Evolution. This was interesting because it grazed the latest evolutionary thinking. It will be anathema to Christian fundamentalists and those who hate the idea that their surviving ancestors are jungle residents or found in the local zoo.

However there are some very thought provoking ideas in the article not the least of which was the theoretical reason for the largeness of the human brain. It turns out that certain survival techniques among fruit eating mammals may account for the growth of the brain. The reason was to facilitate color recognition and memory, the need an organ that could accommodate the enlarged cortical connections that would enable these processes. There is much more and I encourage you to seek out this article for enlightenment and additional source material should you decide to learn more.

For those who don’t subscribe to evolutionary theory, just because you don’t believe it doesn’t make it false. Evolution is happening every day somewhere, as far as we can tell creation is not.

Perhaps the demised blogs are mere remnants or fossils left behind by cyber evolution.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

How to post a comment

I am very interested in having your comments, anonomysly is fine. To post a comment I've discovered that you must put the cursor over the comments field and right click. This will bring up the comments page. You can take it from there.

Pro-Choice vs. Pro-Life

The idea of Pro-Choice has internal contradictions, as does the idea of Pro-Life. Both seemingly succinct expression of concepts, emotions, and intellectual justifications are the mirror image of the positions and are actually reflections of each other. In this year, 2006, the right to abortion on demand is simply ludicrous, the myriad birth control devices and medicines that are available to all obviate this “need”.  Abstinence certainly works but is an unrealistic expectation and  a denial of human nature. Women’s freedom does not depend on their right to kill their unborn children. This may seem a harsh characterization of the Pro-Choice position, but it is accurate. Most of the world’s society still hold women in contempt and view them as male property. I doubt that the world of Islam has many abortions. China has state sponsored, mandatory, abortion programs for the pragmatic purpose of keeping its population in check; male is the preferred gender in China.  These contradictions between two large populations point up the difficulty of the question.

In the United States and Europe the cynical approach to this question frames it in a completely inappropriate way. “ Our bodies Ourselves”  is the outdated battle cry from the left on this issue. In reality women have very little political control over there bodies. Except for Nevada in the USA and Amsterdam in Europe prostitution is a crime. this means that in most places women cannot sell their bodies for any legal income or dispose of them in any legal fashion. The medical profession controls women’s health and certain drugs are not permitted to them for various reasons. Sexual intercourse is going to happen and personal responsibility must be a part of that choice. Men must play a role in ensuring that pregnancy does not occur simply because passions are running high. These very same advocates of infanticide are horrified when a mass murderer is executed by the state.

On the other hand Pro-Life, while it seems to be on the right hand of God fails to pass scrutiny. It is true that the United States has a population gap of approximately 40 million due to abortion since 1973 and I’m sure the number in Europe is roughly the same. This gap is creating political problems unforeseen by the left at the time, now the quasi-socialist societies are breaking under the strain of having no young people to replace the old. The very women and men who aborted their children have jeopardized their lives in old age. The irony is almost too terrible to contemplate.

However the hypocrisy of Pro-Life is obvious. The first thing one notices is that the Pro-Life movement is mostly run by men, this should raise concerns that this is a political movement, which of course most things are. These are the same people, by and large, that insist on the death penalty for so-called heinous crimes. If all life is sacred then so is that of a murderer. Revenge belongs to God, if you are religious, as many of these groups claim to be. Though it may be financially costly to society to imprison murderers for life the cost of the coarsening of society is equally high, if not higher. I think this is obvious in the behavior of 21st century Western Culture. Where are the caring Pro-Life adoption programs? The willingness of Pro-Lifers to condone the violence against abortion clinics and the killing of the staff certainly weakens their claims to righteousness.

I doubt that this situation will change without the recognition by both sides that they are arguing from a false premise. I realize that in political questions the quest for power often prevents the success of the search for truth, or at the very least compromise. Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

My Grandsons

Here is a picture of the world to come. This was taken about a year and a half ago. Today they are aged 6 and 3 respectively. To them the computer, video games, cable television, mobile phones are simply a part of life. Utensils to used and enjoyed, but nothing extraordinary. From this comfort will come even greater technological advances as these children and their contemporaries take strides to make what is now standard, obsolete by developing the technologies that will astonish an aging society, but will always be commonplace to the youngsters. Posted by Picasa

Can You Trust The Numbers?

Health statistics can have an important bearing on behavior, especially those interested in their own health and those who are charged with raising money, creating initiatives, or riding their own health hobby horses to death. Many years have passed since the anti-smoking initiatives began to get traction among the general population. One of the major numbers cited as the reason to become anti-smoking and/or stop smoking was the proposition that 400,000 deaths yearly could be ascribed to tobacco use. The particular bogey- man was lung cancer, when fact there could be a number of different cancers and health conditions developed from smoking.

I use this number as a way of raising the question about the reasonableness of relying on statistics of this sort as a way of managing one’s behavior. For example the number 400,000 deaths is still used as the standard for abating tobacco use. What happened? Tobacco use is at its all time low yet the number of deaths has remained unchanged. There is another reason the be wary of the numbers thrown out by anti-anything advocates. Now that obesity is the target guess how many deaths per year are charged to this condition. You got it in one! 400,000, now I wonder where that number came from?

I recommend that when you hear or read about a statistic that is posited as the reason you should do something to take a hard look at it and its basis. You are going to be surprised and disappointed. Surprised because you will often find the numbers are exaggerated or at the very least mischaracterized, disappointed because certain groups are trying to manipulate you into behaving in they want you to.

You can look it up.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Golf in North Carolina

Living in North Carolina has its good points, and one that I like best is year round golf. While you might not be able to expect good weather everyday you can expect to be able to play golf 12 months a year. Today for example, while its foggy and drizzly at the moment by the time I tee off the sun should be making its appearance and providing warmth up to 60 degrees. This is January after all. I am hoping that the damp conditions will reduce the number of players so that my friends and I can get through the round at a reasonable pace. I actually have not played since Thanksgiving and am looking forward to it. I normally play at a local municipal course called Bryan Park, named for Joe Bryan who donated the land. It actually has two 18-hole courses but one, The Players, is closed for green renovation. So today we will play the Champions Course, which is slightly longer and a little more challenging than the Players. To me though one course can be as difficult as the other.

North Carolina is geographically interesting with its easy access to mountains, forests, and the sea. The state is almost 500 miles long, but less than 300 miles in width, in some much less. Abutting Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, and South Carolina, in sometimes only slightly, its location provides interesting opportunities for cultural exchange. The physical beauty of the landscape can be breathtaking, particularly along the trails of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which sweep from Virginia into Georgia, and brush the edge of the Great Smoky Mountains.

In late March and during April the great Canadian golf migration will begin, many are in Florida now. I will inevitably meet and play golf this spring with many of them. I have been fortunate during past years to play golf entirely in the French spoken by those from Quebec, those most speak English many don’t or won’t.

Come to North Carolina if you haven’t been here, there is a lot of fun to be had.

Monday, January 02, 2006

New Year's Day Lunch

We had a number of friends over for our annual New Year’s Day Lunch. This year it was less formal than others, but just as much fun. We manage to assemble a diverse and interesting group that includes artists, an attorney, retired friends, business executives, and so on. The best part of the day of course is the lunch, but good food and drink stimulates a sense of well being, and this is particularly true when surrounded by people whose company you enjoy. The level of conversation, in terms of content, is varied and kept to a high level. The exchange of ideas is both pleasing and very entertaining. There is always something for everyone.
Each of our guests had read this blog and it managed to provoke reactions, some unexpected and some that came as no surprise. This blog is designed to express one point of view, mine, but I may approach a question or an issue from different aspects at a different time.
Every one should make an effort to stay in close touch with their friends and even some favorite acquaintances, a small dinner party at home is often much more open than that of a table for four or six at a restaurant.

This year I urge everyone to make the effort to entertain your friends at your home. Business dinners don’t count.