23 Mar

The Certified DBA – The Daily WTF

It took an exorbitant amount of time to configure, and it still didn’t work. The application ran awfully slow, and disk I/O was through the roof. Worse, as a result of the smaller drives and 25% usage requirement, the available disk space was quickly filling up.

via The Certified DBA – The Daily WTF. An extremely amusing article that details several things about being an “expert”; it doesn’t make you right on details marginally connected to your field of study, doesn’t imply that you will practice good judgment, doesn’t mean you should throw common sense out the window, and finally that you shouldn’t re-think your basic assumptions of “how it works” when questioned, especially when presented with evidence to the contrary of your logic.

09 Mar

Did Monbiot try to understand climate science? – John Graham-Cumming

I'll admit that the rest of the paper has some harder concepts (standard deviation, anyone?). But I'll wager that the real reason that people don't understand science is not because it's too hard to understand, but because they aren't motivated.

via John Graham-Cumming: Did Monbiot try to understand climate science? Science can be hard but sometimes it can be really easy to at least follow along.

09 Apr

Calling Something Factual, Doesn’t Make It Magically Factual

Specifically, this is another time in which I call out Republicans for their lack of attention to basic logic and understanding of facts. I received an email tonight from the RNC regarding Obama, Congress and the organization ACORN. In this email the GOP makes the claim that “It seems the Obama Administration has plans to rig the Census results.” The way this will occur:

Why is this important? The U.S. population has shifted in the last ten years. States like Illinois, Michigan, New York and Pennsylvania (all states Obama won in 2008) have smaller populations, and states like Arizona, Georgia and South Carolina (all states that John McCain carried) have gained population.

The trend illustrates that urban strongholds, which favor Democrats, continue to lose population to more decentralized areas in states more likely to lean Republican.

If the Democrats and their friends at ACORN have their way, the Census will only “estimate” state populations and therefore be subject to political calculations. And surely their estimate will be far higher than the actual number of people, and voters, present.

So if to be believed by the RNC, Obama and the Democrats through ACORN will manipulate the state population estimates to swing in favor of Democrats as opposed to what the estimate should actually look like.

Let’s start with a few things, first off the email never lists any facts, never links to any hard evidence demonstrating any manner of truth in the email. The only links are to unsubscribe, to the main GOP site and to donate to “help the Republican Party’s effort to spread the word about the Obama Democrats’ misuse of power and plans to end free and fair elections”. Also note this is the sort of classical conspiracy style formatting, this evil organization is doing something behind your back and we aren’t able to get our message out, but you can help us expose the truth.

The funny thing about the whole thing is that the Census Buera’s own estimates don’t prove the central point of the email, which is “States like Illinois, Michigan, New York and Pennsylvania (all states Obama won in 2008) have smaller populations, and states like Arizona, Georgia and South Carolina (all states that John McCain carried) have gained population.”

Specifically looking at the 2008 Census Bureau estimates found here: http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/GCTTable?_bm=y&-geo_id=01000US&-_box_head_nbr=GCT-T1-R&-ds_name=PEP_2008_EST&-format=US-40S

Let’s take a look at each state listed by the GOP in the email, comparing the 2000 Census results with the 2006 and 2008 estimates, shall we.

State 2000 Census Results 2006 Estimate 2008 Estimate
Illinois 12,419,293 12,759,673 12,901,563
Michigan 9,938,492 10,083,878 10,003,422
New York 18,976,816 19,367,028 19,490,297
Pennsylvania 12,281,052 12,388,055 12,448,279
Arizona 5,130,607 6,178,251 6,500,180
Georgia 8,186,812 9,318,715 9,685,744
South Carolina 4,011,809 4,324,799 4,479,800

Notice every single state listed in the email is gaining population from 2000 to 2008, and the only state losing population from 2006 to 2008 is Michigan, which given the state of the economy there, I’m not entirely surprised.

Now I’m not entirely sure what the GOP is trying to argue at this point, because at this point the argument just really collapses amongst itself. They could be talking about percentage change, but the talk about the population not a percentage fall or even that the rate of the states gaining population is going up.

Or I guess the Republicans could claim that the estimate itself is wrong, and they have no proof for it, because the Census Bureau has been manipulating numbers for years in favor of Democrats?

The next question for me becomes, how does a community organization influence the population census, that I’m not sure, since the GOP doesn’t link to any article talking about it or go into specifics, also how do you manipulate the census. Personally, I thought the census was performed by Census employees, maybe the GOP is thinking that the Census with outsource the collection of data to ACORN?

That makes some sense though it still seems silly to blame an organization whose actions are very much blown out of porpition: “Both claims are breathtakingly inaccurate. There’s a huge difference between voter fraud and voter registration fraud. And while ACORN, which hires part-time, $8-an-hour canvassers to go door-to-door and register people to vote, has had widespread problems with phony registrations invented by employees who don’t want to work, the problem has never been that it sent people to the polls using bogus identities or to vote in any other fraudulent manner.”

This winds up being my fundamental problem with political organizations, the media, and politicians, left, right and center. Wild accusations, conspiracy like talk with no real definitive proof or even an understanding of basic logic.

I will say though when MoveOn.org and some other organizations send out emails to pressure for something, they link to real authentic news articles to make a case for themselves. It helps so much it isn’t even funny. It’s almost sad to say that it is refreshing to get their emails which actually make a case for their point even if I disagree with them.

Also GOP, why do you always repeat yourself in the PS part of the email, it’s annoying and stupid. Learn from the Democrats and say something different. Seriously, I get really bored knowing that you are going to ask me for money in exactly the same way you did earlier.

11 Mar

My response to Glen Beck’s silly “We surround them”

Glen Beck not too long ago did a silly little thing in which he posted a list of 9 statements and said that if you believe in them to send in a picture for him to do display them or something.

This is my response to the list.

  1. America is good. Right a country is now a person and is good. And that person has never overthrown multiple governments that torture/murder/enslave/eliminate due process all so that they support us and not Russia? And what the heck does good even mean?
  2. I believe in God and He is the Center of my Life. – Please, I don’t believe in Santa or the Easter Bunny but I believe in a man 2,000 yrs ago that someone how died and rose again. And just happens that half of the belief structure of my faith has been written in the past 500 yrs. Or the now 15% who are atheists.
  3. I must always try to be a more honest person than I was yesterday. Well at least more honest than the last time I cheated on my taxes or the last time I work on personal stuff while on company time.
  4. The family is sacred. My spouse and I are the ultimate authority, not the government. Right, I get to beat my kids, my husband gets to rape me and my daughter, control what my kids think, because I know better than thousands of other people that really having a house that is about to fall apart is good survival instict, oh and teaching my kids that the earth is the center of the universe is what I want to do. We wouldn’t want the government trying to provide for a more just and educated society, much more fun teaching kids to hate and not understand or listen to logic and reason.
  5. If you break the law you pay the penalty. Justice is blind and no one is above it. Except for the president, you know because he is allowed to break the law at will and not be held accountable for it. Oh and the people who help him break the law they get medals. Or if you are rich enough and have a really good reason for doing what you did, then it’s all cool.
  6. I have a right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, but there is no guarantee of equal results. Except if you are gay, female, black, trans-gender, bisexual, or really just think or act different, then you have no equal freedoms and thus defiantly no equal results. Oh and just because you were raised in a poor school district and thus received a poor education means you should some how magically overcome a limited education expect there are no libraries for you to educate yourself at because:
  7. I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable. Yes they can it’s called taxes, and next time you feel reluctant to pay taxes because you want to hold onto what’s yours we’ll go back to pre-government days and let you fight to hold onto it and see how that works out. I really only want my friends to get the benefits of what I make and I really don’t want to try and help society advance by providing education, or help for people who are less well off than I am, unless they go to one of my pre-approved charities will they will be told they have to believe in God to get a warm bed and meal.
  8. It is not un-American for me to disagree with authority or to share my personal opinion. – Unless you disagree with me, or with what America does or what the President (unless he’s a Democrat), or you can make stupid jokes about it and call the person fat, ugly, stupid, claim they should fail, etc.
  9. The government works for me. I do not answer to them, they answer to me. Unless they lie their way into a war, torture innocent people, tap my phone and record what I do online and where I travel overseas.
07 Jan

One isn’t Many and Many isn’t All

One of the arguments that I hear for why people express an -ism belief (racism, sexism, ageism, etc), is that they had this experience with this one person and you know that must be how everyone of that particular group is. I love this kind of reasoning it’s so illogical it’s almost funny and yet people do it all the time.

Venn Diagram: Subsets

Venn Diagram: Subsets

Mathematics will let you know that a subset is not always equal or the same as the larger set contained in it.

So why is that people assume that it is? Who knows, I suspect it has something to do with the same reason we are bad at assessing on an intuitive level risk.

Be that as it may, maybe it would be fair for people who make those sort of assumptions that a subset is the whole set to decide that white Americans are out to destroy America, or that Christians want to kill people and blow up buildings. Yet we don’t assume that because it just isn’t true.

So do you still think the one is the many and that many is all or is it possible that it just isn’t true?

13 Mar

Ummm, You have to umm be confident, like yeah

Are you serious??? Is pretty much what went through my head all yesterday listening to a round of speeches by students on their future career. Some quick background information, currently I am taking a public speaking class, and the class admittedly is pretty boring for me as I did debate in high school. The class is a basic introduction to public speaking, how to speak and gaining some quick and dirty practice speaking in front of an audience. So no one here is expected to be an expert public speaker or even in all honesty a decent public speaker. However this last round of speeches made me question some students’ choice in their career field and their logical capabilities.

The first set of speeches were okay, mainly because the students were allowed to use multiple note cards for the speech. Although granted the majority just read from the note cards for most of the time, the speeches were acutally pretty decent for a first time speech. The next round of speeches have just gone downhill. The students are only allowed one note card for a 4-5 minute speech and the problems just increased like crazy.

We have speeches that run on and on, for over 6 minutes in one case. Which you lose points for going over the time limit. Also we have speeches that have logic that is simply indescribable. For instance one student mentioned that to do well in this field you had to be outgoing and a desire to meet people and “that unless you’ve lived in a cave for the last 10 years you can do that.” Ummm in case you haven’t heard there are a whole group of people called introverts that are the exact opposite of outgoing and they really are not a small portion of the population or live in caves. In fact we even talked about these sort of people in our class and discussed some of the research into introverted and extroverted personalities so you have no excuse for not knowing these people exist.  Or the person who discussed a field that has exactly 3 schools that specialize in it and isn’t growing at all because the field by it’s very nature is basically stagnant. If this person had done any sort of research they would have realized this and not said that it was growing because well there was no reason given, but it was growing. The one that personally took the cake was the student who used their mother as a credible expert. Really your mom is a credible expert, what are her credentials, oh she doesn’t have any, thanks but no thanks.

My overall favorite though was the several marketing majors who described confidence as an important aspect to their job and yet were obviously unconfident in giving their respective presentations. They destroyed their entire creditability in one sentence without a single person having to think at all. It was horrifying on some levels. The sad thing is that it wasn’t just one person who did it, multiple marketing people got up in front of the class looked scared and nervous like you wouldn’t believe and then said that to do marketing you had to be confident.

I’m writing this hoping that at some point I will understand what drives people to miss these glaring problems in their speeches as well as try and come to term with how some people truly decide on their field of study in college.