Saturday, February 25, 2006

So very messed up!

Warning! Battlestar Galactica spoilers!

So, now we have three Sixes. 6-6-6. This can't be good. And Caprica Six has an imaginary Baltar. How... sweet, I guess, and creepy. And question inducing. If Baltar meets Caprica Six, will Imaginary Six and Imaginary Baltar disappear? Or meet? If they're not programs or chips or hallucinations, what exactly are these mostly invisible tormentors? I'm curious as to what Imaginary Baltar's been feeding Six all these months. Certainly guilt. But aside from that, he has no moral agenda as Imaginary Six does. It was Six who convinced Baltar of a Grand Plan. So with roles reversed, has Baltar mearly been planting the seeds of doubt? That gives us Religious Six (aka Imaginary Six), Atheist Six (Pegasus Six), and Doubting Six (Caprica Six).

Also, a nitpick. I thought Helo's Sharon said she remembered being on Galactica, yet obviously she's not a download of the Sharon who lived on Galactica and shot Adama. Do the Cylons sync with others of their model or not? Or did she specifically access Galatica Sharon's memories so that she could blend in better?

Friday, February 24, 2006

Quote of the Day, February 24, 2006

My race is pacifist and does not believe in war. We only kill out of personal spite.

- Observer in Riding with Death

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Quote of the Day - February 23, 2006

From this bag here, why I can pull 'most anything imaginable,
Like office desks and lava lights and Bert, who is a cannibal .

- "I am the Very Model of a Cartoon Individual", performed by Yakko Warner on Animaniacs

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

What is the Value of Shakespeare?

Richard Cohen lamented last week that many students are now required to take algebra in order to graduate from high school.

“You will never need to know algebra. I have never once used it and never once even rued that I could not use it… sooner or later someone's going to tell you that algebra teaches reasoning. This is a lie propagated by, among others, algebra teachers. Writing is the highest form of reasoning. This is a fact. Algebra is not.”

Mr. Cohen, I have news. Writing is not a form a reasoning. It is a form of communication. You can use writing to make an argument, but writing itself does not require reason. Many news reports are a sad example of this. Pretty words and emotional imagery are so much more impressive to reporters than actually weighing and presenting evidence. Statistics, in my opinion, should be a required course for journalism majors since statistics are so often cited in news reports yet rarely with the sense that the reporter even knows what those numbers really mean. Por ejemplo, this article in the Washington Post a couple of weeks ago that called sexual harassment on college campuses “routine”. However, if you look at the survey’s definition of harassment, it’s a bit broad. I was this close to writing a post on it called “38% of College Students Lead Sheltered Life”. Honestly. If you never see or hear something offensive in a 4 or 5 year time span (college or no), you are either too jaded to be offended or you live in Chatham, VA.

Where was I? Oh, yes. You think algebra useless? The computer you inevitably wrote your article on was created by people who find it quite useful. Ah, but they’re not you. You, who value words above numbers. Fine. You don’t have to take algebra, and I won’t have to study Shakespeare. Or John Steinbeck. Or (please, please, please) Ethan Frome. While I actually enjoy some Shakespeare, the others I could most certainly do without. They serve only to torment me, with stories that are not enjoyable at the surface, but are supposed to mean something if you just dig into the symbolism of it all. Why can’t the story be enjoyable at a superficial level, with the symbolism being an added bonus? Can’t we just agree that all of the books they make you read in school are utterly depressing and shouldn’t be shoved down already anxious and depressed teenager’s throats? No? Then you have to solve for X.

Now, perhaps those who get the willies when they think about numbers could take a class on logic that would teach reasoning in a linguistic rather than mathematical format. But algebra is not useless, even to those who will never find occasion to apply it. Just as literature gives me a window into the cultural world, so should algebra give you a better appreciation for how complicated the world we live in really is.

Quote of the Day - February 22, 2006

- "I'm Going Slightly Mad" by Queen