The Voyage of Captain Obvious

Grading is satanic

Monday, March 19, 2007

Because I'm a little bit frustrated with the world...

Enjoy the GLORY!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Hey computer scientists!

I love your piece of software. It is very gracious of you to have it available as freeware or as shareware. I like that you are willing to provide this as a public service. Open source is a great movement.

That being said, when I first download a piece of software, my first goal is not to learn how to use the fucking software. It is not to find out the history of the software, and it is especially not to find out the list of features/updates that have been done to the software since the last date. These items are not documentation. Labeling them as such actually makes it more difficult to find the actual documentation (if it exists), and frustrates your users to no end. Rather than writing the above items, it would better serve everyone's time if you would just sit and write down a sheet that tells the user, in plain English, how to use the fucking program. Is that so hard? Why is all documentation centered around updates? Am I missing something?


Thursday, March 08, 2007


Bush and Condoleezza Rice, apparently don't think that the Congress has the authority to defund the war. (Link via MyDD).

Now, I've always found the constitutionality of the War Powers Resolution of 1973 something more than interesting--the constitution is crazy vague on what the fuck was meant by having the right to issue a 'declaration of war' reserved to the Congress, but also giving the President full authority as Commander in Chief, which, nominally, would include the ability to deploy troops when needed. The overlap of authority is fairly evident here, and it is unclear exactly how it should be resolved. Hence why I think it was a good idea that Congress was willing to sit down and make an explicit set of guidelines under which the President could wage war.

If the President really intends on ignoring the instructions of Congress to end the war, however, then this whole system is thrown into disarray. If Congress passes some sort of resolution that has actual teeth in it (something that I somewhat doubt), and Bush ignores it, then we will be faced with a Constitutional crisis not seen since Nixon used the FBI to harass his enemies. I'm afraid for this country. I have a feeling that something really, really bad is about to happen, and that there is really nothing that anyone can do about it.

But I guess it's just a feeling for now.

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Sunday, March 04, 2007

President 2008

I am torn on who to support or what to believe for the 2008 Presidential election. Gen Xers have been burned by the Democrats over and over and over and over. Through my whole memory, you have either had the corrupt inarticulate foils to the conservative nutjobs of the 80s, the too-centrist to understand what they stand for Clinton Democrats of the 90s, or, the absolute worst, the craven cowards of the first half of the aughts.

2006, supposedly was a corner-turning moment--the Democrats ran on an anti-war platform, and dammit, they won! They beat incumbents from Rhode Island to Virginia to Montana. They took back both houses of Congress. Aside from Joe Lieberman winning, the news in November 2006 was sparkling.

But what happened then? The Democrats took power, and they pushed through Nanci Pelosi's first 100 hours agenda. And then, Harry Reid failed to even get a vote on a nonbinding resolution against Bush's war escalation. The entire democratic party is terrified about standing up to Joe Lieberman on the war--amending schedules of meetings so that Joseph will feel comfortable attending Democratic luncheons. No one is talking about Russ Feingold's or John Murtha's resolutions on ending war funding.

And then you have your 2008 Presidential candidates. In this context of Gen X Democrats having endured endless promises to the base (most painfully, Clinton's promise of allowing gays in the military and of universal health care) from candidates who have pretended to be our people. So, colour me less than overjoyed when Hillary Clinton promises to have universal health care by the end of her second term. Colour me skeptical when John Edwards, with a minimum of experience in national office, and a relatively conservative voting record while in office, says that he has now seen the light on the war and is a vociferous proponent of health care. And really, forgive me when Barack Obama alternates between arguing against an imaginary "far left" that apparently consists of the Weathermen and the SLA and a vaguely defined 'Politics of Hope' couched in religious terms, all the while avoiding content. His primary argument seems to be that people on goddamn facebook love him.

And beyond this field, who is there? Bill Richardson, yet another Clintonista? Al Gore? Al fucking Gore? The guy behind the 2000 campaign is the one that's going to save the left, if he contradicts everything that he's been saying and spontaneously decides to run? Really?

I don't know what my point is, exactly, except that I'm kinda cynical these days. There doesn't even seem to be a Bill Bradley to support this time around. I'm probably going to support Obama, who at least hasn't disappointed me with a horrible vote in the past, and find a few Senate primary candidates that I like. Then I can blandly support the Democrat in the general.

Yay life.


Saturday, March 03, 2007

So... is grad school ever going to end?

I am about to finish a paper that I've been working on for over six months. I've been trying to present results on this for a while, but the presentation keeps on getting pushed back. On one level, I just want to finish all of this nonsense and forget that it ever happened. On another level, I almost feel that there is no point to it: I feel like grad school is just going to continue forever, and that I'm going to finally get my degree when I'm fifty, go do five years of postdoc, and finally reach tenure at seventy five, and retire five years later, at which point I will immediately die.

Obviously, this discourages me from doing anything, which continues the horrible, horrible cycle.

My students are already terrifyingly young.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

I've got nothing to say but...