Friday, 4 September 2015

The Carbon-Dating Question

Some guy was digging around a library collection in England, and came to a page or two which weren't part of the original book.  Inserted pages.

The book in Question....the Koran.

After a while, the people with the collection had this curious nature and had a carbon-dating done on the inserted pages.

It's an odd thing.....the inserted pages were from the period of 568 AD to 632 AD.

Basically, this opened up a can of worms with the Islamic community.

You see....Muhammad didn't even get born until 570 AD.  He was in early thirties when he finally got around to organizing his church group, and the document in question....didn't really come together until a decade later.

Some people now have this odd suggestion about how the inserted pages and carbon-dating fit together.  The idea is that the Koran existed prior to Muhammad and prior to the formation of Islam.  If true (you have to emphasize IF in this case), then Islam is a copy of another religion, which puts the whole thing into a massive discussion stage.

Few non-believers have an understanding of Islam in the historical sense or Muhammad's youth.

Muhammad hung out in his youth with his uncle, who was a regional trader.  One of the great things about the trading situation.....was that you got to travel and meet different people.....along with different religions.

In Saudi Arabia at the time.....there were roughly three-hundred-plus religions.  People were creating religions left and right.  Muhammad took to reviewing various religions and had a curious nature with them.  After the Uncle died and stability kinda fell apart.....Muhammad's effort to create Islam went into overdrive.

The odds of a religion existing at the time....before Islam.....and using the Koran?  There's not much proof.....but a lot of things have been purged over the years and you can't be sure of anything.  I'm guessing that the Islamic crowd is a bit frustrated that this came out, and there's going to be some effort to downgrade the carbon-dating story.  But it puts some people into a different prospective.  If you could dig up a dozen-odd Koran items.....all dating prior 570 AD....it'd set the stage for a confrontation.  Questions would get asked and the legit nature of Muhammad would be called into question.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

When Your Convictions are a Problem

I sat and watched for the last couple of days this epic battle between some county clerk in Kentucky and the court system.  The county clerk says she's got religious empowerment, and she just can't issue marriage licenses to gay couples.  The court system, via a US federal judge, has issued out the ruling that there's no choice in the matter, and demands she come to court.

Personally, I wouldn't normally care much for the story or the events unfolding....but there's this odd factor which bothers me.

You see...when you go and do some public service job...whether elected or hired....your religious background, tendencies, and interpretation of some Biblical factor....makes your service to the public a question mark.

I could walk in and present myself as a heavy drinker or a guy who has relations with dozens of women monthly, and you as the public servant of whatever function you serve.....might decide that your holy-attitude  needs to invoke rule X, Y or Z....thus denying me service.  You see, it's not just a gay thing or such.....you could invoke any interpretation and just say these verses are enough to deny service.

If there were an alternate deal.....like I wanted a barber to cut my hair but he decides that my big hooter mermaid tattoo situation offends him, well, it's not all bad because I can find another barber in ten minutes.

If I walked into a Burger King and they wanted to deny me a sausage and biscuit because I wore flip-flops, well, I could go down the street and find a McDonalds operation who doesn't care about my flip-flop situation and serve up a sausage and biscuit.

In the case of the county clerk....where license are issued via one particular person for the whole county, there's a problem for me to go and find another clerk in the same county.

In this case, this gal's religious convictions are such....that she might want to find another line of work.

In our modern world, there are hundreds....maybe even thousands....of moral decisions made and it reflects upon character.  For a heavily defined religious person....there's probably a minimum of two-hundred 'flaws' where you might be on the no-go or unacceptable list.  In the world of capitalism and commerce, it doesn't matter much....there's always an alternate place for service.  But when there's NO alternate deal.....your public service situation is called into question. This gal has a profession where she can't perform at the level required.  My humble guess is that the federal judge will offer one chance to grasp the big-picture, and she won't understand that.....he'll ever remove her from position, or put her into some home-arrest deal until she cooperates.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

The Seven Things I Learned from Hurricane Katrina

Ten years ago, this past week, Hurricane Katrina came and passed through New Orleans.  I came to note seven observations over the past ten years of the event.

First, you could go and tell ten thousand people of a life-threatening situation coming to their edge of the world, advising them to leave now....and at least ten-percent will disregard your advice and stay.  Whatever advice or wisdom that you tried to offer them.....didn't matter.  You can offer up a brief prayer for these people and just say adios.  You don't need to be concerned about these people if they realize the impact of what you suggest.

Second, the news media is mostly there for the thrills and bogus human interest stories.  Nothing much has changed in the past decade.

Third, if the National Guard hadn't gotten it's act together quick and gotten to the Super Bowl to pull those people out.....several hundred folks would have perished on top of the chosen-to-go crowd.  Folks don't readily grasp that the National Guard activation comes up and it takes two or three days to get everyone at their post and get trucks to a designated point.  Still today, people don't realize that.

Fourth, about the last thing of value that you can get from a US President is some fly-over of a disaster area.  It doesn't solve anything or fix anything.  Send some general down and just order the guy to fix the problem and give him ten-thousand Marines.

Fifth, folks don't return unless there's something to return to.  Look up the population of New Orleans today....roughly 378,000 compared to 500,000 a decade ago.  Houston took up a fair number of folks, who've opted not to leave....they are happy in Texas and know the job market is better than in Louisiana.

Sixth, I learned that global warming and climate change didn't really bring a hundred more hurricanes after Katrina like all the experts for CNN and ABC/CBS/NBC predicted.  It was supposed to be an era of huge disaster episodes.  And it never came.

Finally, I learned that it's best to run your own disaster escape plan and not rely on the US government for much.

Wal-Mart and the AR-15 Episode

This past week, Wal-Mart decided that it will only carry guns that hunters and clay-pigeon shooters will operate. So the AR-15, it's top model of gun that it carried for a number of years....won't be carried.

This will mean that they basically carry an assortment of cheap shotguns, and a small quantity of bolt-action rifles.....which will generally mean a six to eight round magazine.

This comes after some court action and legal scares on Wal-Mart, triggered by aggressive lawyers working for various foundations.

Wal-Mart even went out and produced a simplified statement which hints that it still supports hunters.  As long as no mass shootings occur with shotguns, that attitude will continue along....but you can imagine the first time that some shotgun mass shooting occurs....the Wal-Mart business team will examine the whole firearms strategy.

So, what you got was the Wal-Mart "message".  They won't be playing because it's not in their interest.

Your reaction?  You can sit and chat about this.....get frustrated with the neighbor over a long talk of the subject....even slam your fist down once or twice in anger.  Or you can send Wal-Mart a "message" and thug lawyers.

If you need cheese, milk or bread.....go down to Piggly Wiggly and buy it there.

If you need new tires....go to your local tire shop in town and haggle with the manager over the price and just accept their tire deal (being $20 more expensive than Wal-Mart).

If you need cheap t-shirts made in Mexico....go over to Pennys or Sears and buy them.  Oh and by the way....remember all those cheap $7 packs of Wal-Mart men's underwear made in Mexico?  You could go to 'Flint and Tinder' and get US made quality underwear (for more money, I agree) and you will help to employ Americans, not Mexicans.

If you need tools, go to your local hardware shop in the town you live.

If you need gardening items or plants.....same deal, shop locally.

Give these people the business that you took away from them two decades and return to the people that gave you an honest deal.

If you need a gun or ammo.....go to your local gun-sales shop and buy off of them.  Tell the guy that you are a former Wal-Mart consumer but you want his shop and business....so ask for deals.  Show your face three or four times a year and let them know you will stand behind their business.

For you folks who pushed on Wal-Mart and the foundations to get them to this position?  You'd best go as extreme as possible in buying off Wal-Mart and help support them while the other folks quit the business operation.  In twelve months.....Wal-Mart would start to ask questions and discuss closing down various operations because profit loss.

Remember, there was  time before 1980 where Wal-Mart didn't exist in your community and you used Mom-and-Pop operations, along with the local grocery operations.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Xe?

I've tried to make sense out of this....probably wasting an hour reading and pondering.

The University of Tennessee of Knoxville.....has a hired gay-rights person as part of the school staff.  With the new semester starting up....there's been this slide to come out and let students and staff know the 'agenda'.

There are 'code-words' now for gender neutral folks.  If you were using the normal word of 'she', then it'd be gender-neutral to use 'ze' instead.  If you get into grammar rules.....there's always an object, a pronoun, etc.

Naturally, once this came out.....there were a fair amount of negativity.....since this isn't a nationally recognized thing or a state-mandated thing....a fair number of folks (students) were against this.  Quickly, the chancellor of the university came out and said that this would NOT be mandated or forced upon anyone.

Where did ze come from?  That's not completely clear.  From some readings, I've come to realize that dozens of countries and languages....have various ways of dealing with he or she, in masculine terms or otherwise.  Word experts appear to always have fits in grasping a way to describe something and it must fit within a rule-scheme.

As for the introduction at the university?  Here's the thing.....in most cases.....mom and dad are sponsoring Jennifer or Bob Junior and probably paying the Knoxville crowd around $70,000 for their education.  On top of that, there's another $50,000 going to the Knoxville community, booze industry, clothing appeal shops, and court establishment for fines or issues.  It's a large sum of money and they just want that kid to graduate in four years, get a real job, and appear to be successful.  The concern of mom and dad over Xe or Ze?  Almost zero.  It's not helping them pass some class in economics, nursing or engineering.....it's probably not important.

If you go back a hundred years, and showed up at any state-run university in America....the emphasis for the four years included some introduction to Greek, simplified debate classes for each year, and a small amount of engineering-related classes.  

How long will this new grammar stuff stay around?  I suspect that the comical side of college life will drag this along as an anchor, and a large segment of the university will take this as a joke.  They will use the new grammar for test answers and get the professors all tangled up in grammar usage.  No engineering professor is going to buy off on this, and eventually.....each department will come out with it's own accepted usage of English.  And when some electrical engineer professor starts mandating acceptable English.....you know you got a problem.

Berkeley Smokes Story

I noted this week....out in Berkeley City, California.....there's a proposal going up by a city council guy to ban the sale of tobacco (smokes) to "youths" under the age of 21.

Naturally, this all goes along with some noted increased in underage tobacco use.....part of which relates to e-cigarettes (becoming more popular now).

The proposal will arrive for the whole city council to vote on in September.  No one says much over the remaining members of the city council or if there's some public out-cry over the business.

I'm humored by the term "youths" being attached to anyone from age eighteen to twenty-one.  These are all people allowed to vote, purchase and own weapons, enlist for the military, get student loans of $100,000, obtain credit cards and get heavily into debt, and marry without any interference from Mom or Dad.

Once Congress opened up the door and said people down to the age of eighteen had the right to vote....they've opened up the door for various debates.

Personally, I wouldn't mind if they were stupid enough to draft up something like this....to just go ahead and say a bunch of things are off-limits for this youth group.  If kids are that stupid to smoke and you think it's bad....why aren't they that stupid to vote for silly reasons?  Why would you allow an immature 18-year-old gal to marry an immature 20-year-old guy?  Why grant drivers licenses at sixteen?

What happens when the Berkeley City council passes this?  Simple....a couple of guys start walking around in the area and selling black-market smokes.  You charge ten to twenty cents profit on each pack and the underage punks go ahead and pay the extra costs.  Or they drive fifty feet beyond the city council authority and buy from a non-Berkeley dealer.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

A Big Door

I was reading through a piece in the Washington Post from the weekend, there's this opinion piece written by a PhD guy (Theodore R. Johnson).  He has surveyed the whole discussion of paying back the black community for reparations from the era prior to 1865, and think the only think that can be done logically....is to grant some type of vote-change that allow (at least for some period of time) a vote power of 5 to 3 for blacks.....meaning that each time a black guy voted....it'd count for five-thirds of a vote.

The logic here....for this entire period prior to 1865 is that black votes counted for three-fifths.  So, for some period of time (not mentioned in the commentary), this five-thirds vote would fix the unfairness that blacks have dealt.

This type of wisdom would draw two reactions.  Some people might agree in theory but doubt that it'd work.....too many folks would claim to be black when they weren't black.  And the second group would obviously say it's totally unfair and would be against the idea.

My issue would be that it would open up this big door and folks would start to talk about other reparation deals to solve a past problem.

Women would want a seven to two vote, for all those years that they weren't allowed to vote.

Indians would want a twelve to three vote, for all those years they were unfairly treated.

Ethnic Chinese would want a six to four vote, for all those years they were unfairly treated.

Mormons would want a nine to seven vote, for all those years they were unfairly treated.

Japanese-Americans would want a nine to six vote, for the period they were held in camps in WW II.

Irish people would want a six to five vote, for the period they were held back in economic conditions.

At some point, then you'd have members of the Washington Redskins football team who'd want a two to one vote for the unfairness of the NFL and life.

Then you'd have residents of New Orleans who'd demand a eight to one vote for the years of suffering after Katrina.

Then you'd have West Virginia and Oklahoma folks who'd demand a twenty to nineteen vote because they were always treated as second-class citizens.

This would go on and on, with everyone thinking of some unfairness and dreaming up a way to pay themselves back.  Life is unfair...period.  For over 100,000 years.....we can pretty much sum up the gains of human civilization as being unfair.  As for repairing unfairness?  It's a pretty big door and if you open it.....I'm not sure where fairness and unfairness would end up.